Wednesday, January 31, 2018

EmmDev 2018-01-31 [Insights from Isaiah] When God called Isaiah (#2)

When God called Isaiah (#2)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.                                        (Isaiah6:1-4)
Isaiah goes to the temple - Uzziah has died - the future is uncertain. Isaiah wants solid ground to stand on...
In the temple he has a vision of the Lord. The imagery in this vision offers us beautiful perspectives on the character of God.

The Lord is seated on the throne: Earthly kings may come and go, but God is on the throne. He governs the ebb and flow of history. Even when rulers use their free will to do mischief and evil God governs over them and accomplishes His purposes. He is high and lifted up, and, while we may not always understand His ways, they pure and blameless. The seraphs (serving angels) around his throne help us understand what He is like: The wings and their flying indicate their power (and yet they choose to serve). They cover their faces because His magnificence is incredible. They cover their feet (probably a euphemism for private parts) out of respect and reverence for God's greatness.

They sing a threefold "Holy". While we recognise a hint to the Trinity with our New Testament glasses, the Old Testament connotation around three is completeness - God is completely holy, righteous and pure. And His glory can be seen throughout the whole earth.

Isaiah doesn't describe God much beyond that He is seated on a throne. He seems only to have vocabulary for the angels (seraphs) and even their presence rocks Isaiah's world - doorposts and thresholds shake at the sound of their praise alone. How much bigger must God be if Isaiah is overwhelmed by the presence of the angelic servants?

The temple is filled with smoke (or maybe incense) - this again is a symbol of God's holy presence which penetrates everything and yet we cannot grasp or hold it.

What is God like?
He's incredibly majestic and yet the angels delight to serve and worship Him.
He's 3Xholy (perfect, righteous and good) and the whole earth reflects it.
His presence makes powerful angels bashful
His presence inspires powerful praise from these angels
His presence is obvious in the whole created world
His presence permeates our lives.

If we read on, we learn some more:
- This God forgives
- This God calls
- This God restores.

Take a moment to stand with Isaiah in the temple and contemplate the glory of the Lord.

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