Isaiah 6 has the prophet sharing his vision of the great King Uzziah dying. Uzziah led Israel in military victories over the Philistines and other neighboring nations, and he was a strong king. Uzziah was a energetic builder, planner, and general. But his life ended tragically when he disobeyed God, was struck with leprosy, and then was an isolated leper until his death. “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”. This is a big deal – for a good king to die like this.
So where was the Lord? Isaiah sees the picture clearly. He was ‘sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up’. This didn’t happen without God knowing what was happening. He was still in charge of all creation. There is a throne in heaven, and the Lord God sits upon it as the sovereign ruler of the universe! God has always been on that throne, and the good news is He always will be. There are few constants in the world today, but God and His sovereignty is one of those we can depend on always being the same.
As Isaiah sees God on the throne, His angels call out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory”! God is worthy of our praise. We see it happen when His angels are in His presence. Why do they often say ‘holy’ three times? It may refer to the Trinity and the praise of all Three. In biblical times, repetition of words was a way to show the intensity of their communication. The angels wanted to make it clear that God is more than worthy of praise. He is holy. Holiness is not an aspect of God’s personality; it is one characteristic of His entire Being.
Isaiah saw his sinfulness, and the sinfulness of his people, mainly in terms of sinful speech. He knows he is not worthy at all to be in His presence. And then, Isaiah has an encounter with God. “And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for”.” Isaiah’s sin had to be burned away; the fire of judgment was applied to his place of sin. Sin always has a price that has to be paid. In this case, God dealt with that price with a burning coal to Isaiah’s lips. In our life, our sin has to be paid for too. Jesus went to the cross to pay that price. What we have to do is receive His gift of grace.