September 15: A Holy God and a Sinful Nation (Isa 6:1-13)
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
and the Lord removes people far away,
and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
And though a tenth remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
whose stump remains
when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.
Defeat seems imminent; God's people are going to be punished. And yet God has a plan to restore his fallen people. The vision of Isaiah 6 is God’s self-revelation to Isaiah of his holiness and his plan to restore the sinful nation. God promises Isaiah, who himself is sinful, that despite the coming judgment, hope is still extended to the people. Isaiah in fact becomes a picture of what God will do. As the nation sees its sin and confesses, they will be forgiven, cleansed and called into being the renewed people of God to the nations. While God’s holiness comes into special focus in this passage, there are also strong images of his power, majesty and beauty. It is really the glory of God that brings Isaiah to his knees and commissions him to preach both for the judgment of some and the salvation of others.
Review and Apply
- Compare your view of God in contrast to God’s self-disclosure in 6:1-4.
- What is Isaiah’s reaction when he is confronted with the character and reality of God?
- Explain Isaiah’s commissioning in vv. 8-10.
- How does this passage describe the nature of preaching?
- What is the remnant and how does it display God’s faithfulness?
- How does a proper view of God’s glory advance mission? Describe this dynamic in your own life by explaining your current practice of beholding God.
- How does Isaiah represent the nation of Israel in this passage?
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