Scripture reading – Isaiah 6; Isaiah 7

Continuing our chronological reading in the Book of Isaiah, our Scripture is Isaiah 6 and 7. This study is part one of two and will focus on Isaiah 6. A second study will follow from Isaiah 7.

 

Isaiah 6

 

Isaiah 6 is a dramatic chapter that has captured imaginations through the centuries. Here, we find a heavenly portrait of God sitting on His throne. Though a brief chapter, Isaiah 6 is pivotal in our study. Before he commissioned Isaiah to be a prophet to Judah, the LORD gave him a vision of Himself sitting on heaven’s throne. I invite you to consider three significant thoughts with me.

 

Isaiah’s Reflection on God’s Glory (Isaiah 6:1-4)

 

The Setting of Isaiah 6 (Isaiah 6:1)

 

It was a time of national mourning, for it was “in the year King Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1). We have considered Uzziah in earlier devotions, and you may remember he reigned 52 years over Judah. His reign was long and prosperous (2 Chronicles 26:1-15) until his heart was lifted with pride, and God struck him with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-20).

 

Banned from the palace because of his disease, the king’s son oversaw the affairs of the government until Uzziah’s death. Knowing the king was dead, Isaiah went to the Temple and sought the LORD.

Standing above God’s throne were seraphim, and each had six wings.

The Scene (Isaiah 6:1-3)

 

In the Temple, Isaiah witnessed the majesty of the LORD sitting on His Throne in all His heavenly glory. Though Uzziah was dead, and the people were shaken, the prophet was reminded that God is sovereign, and His authority is never in doubt. Kings rise and fall, but the LORD is ever “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” above all earthly thrones and governments (Isaiah 6:1).

 

Standing above God’s throne were seraphim, and each had six wings. Two wings covered their face (showing reverence for God), two wings covered their feet, and with two wings, they hovered above the throne of God (Isaiah 6:2).

 

The seraphim were engaged in two occupations. They proclaimed God’s holiness and cried to one another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3a). They acknowledged the LORD as Creator, for the earth displayed His glory (Isaiah 6:3b).

 

In Isaiah’s vision, the cry of the seraphim moved the doorposts of the Temple, “and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:4). In the Scripture, smoke is associated with God’s presence (Exodus 19:18; 2 Samuel 22:9).

 

Isaiah’s Response to the Heavenly Vision (Isaiah 6:5-7)

 

The vision of the majesty and holiness of God sitting on His throne moved Isaiah to acknowledge his sinful state. Confessing the sorrow of one that is helpless and hopeless (Isaiah 6:5), Isaiah cried, “Woe is me! for I am undone [dead; doomed]; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).

 

Isaiah not only confessed his “unclean lips” (the sins of his tongue; i.e., rash, harsh, bitter words) but also the sins of the nation (Isaiah 6:5). Judah was guilty of outwardly worshipping and sacrificing to the LORD, but their mouths were filled with pride, mocking, and false piety.

 

After the prophet confessed his sin, a seraph took a live, fiery coal from the altar, placed the hot coal on Isaiah’s lips, and pronounced his iniquity and sin purged (Isaiah 6:7).

 

Isaiah’s Recruitment: His Call and Commission (Isaiah 6:8-13)

 

Suddenly, the voice of the LORD was heard, and He asked, “Whom shall I send [Send forth], and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8b). Isaiah, with a humble heart and his sins forgiven, did not hesitate to answer God’s call and said, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8c).

 

The LORD challenged Isaiah and said, “Go, and tell [speak; command] this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand [consider; regard] not; and see [Look; behold] ye indeed, but perceive not. [not know or understand]” (Isaiah 6:9). As a nation, Judah spiritually calloused. The people had heard the prophets but refused to repent (Isaiah 6:9b). They had seen God’s protection and blessings but were blind to their sins.

“Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8c).

Closing thoughts 

 

The LORD called Isaiah to go and admonish the people. Some heard his preaching, but their hearts became “fat” [calloused]. They refused to heed the Word of the LORD and became spiritually blind and deaf (Isaiah 6:10). Should Judah continue to harden their hearts, the nation would pass the point of no return.

 

Isaiah asked the LORD, “How long?” (6:11a) How long would the people hear the truth and refuse to repent? (Isaiah 6:11a). The LORD then revealed that the nation would refuse the truth until God’s judgment fell upon them. Their cities would be destroyed, the houses silent (without a man, woman, or child), the land would be wasted, and only one-tenth of the people would remain in the land (Isaiah 6:11-13).

 

Isaiah 6:13 concluded with the LORD remembering His covenant with Abraham and David. So, He promised He would not annihilate His people. He looked past the destruction of Jerusalem and promised: “The holy seed [offspring] shall be the substance thereof” (6:13b). Though Israel and Judah would be cut down to the ground, the seedlings of faith would begin to sprout into new life.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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