Isaiah’s Vision (Isaiah 6)

When one get a glimpse of the glory of God, it can change his life.  It may change how one views himself.  It may change how one views others.  It did for Isaiah.

Look Up

Isaiah had a vision of the LORD (Isaiah 6:1-4).  He saw the LORD on His throne, high and lifted up.  Seraphim were praising Him, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”  They covered themselves before Him.  The doorposts of the house (temple) shook in His presence.  The house was filled with smoke (perhaps, representing His awesome nature and unapproachableness cf. Exodus 19:18; 20:18; 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14; or His wrath cf. 2 Samuel 22:9; Psalm 18:8).

This vision occurred “in the year King Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1).  Uzziah was a good king for many years (2 Chronicles 26:1-5).  Pride led to his downfall.  “When he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction…” (2 Chronicles 26:16).  He was afflicted with leprosy and died a horrible death (2 Chronicles 26:16-23).  What a contrast.  Isaiah sees the LORD in glory.  No earthly king can compare. 

It seems possible that the One Isaiah saw was actually the pre-incarnate Jesus (cf. John 12:37-43).  Divine language is used many times of Jesus.  He is the heart-searcher (Revelation 2:23 cf. Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 20:12), the first and the last (Revelation 1:10; 1:17-18; 2:8; 22:12-13 cf. Isaiah 41:4; 44:6-8; 48:12-13), and the I am (John 8:58 cf. Exodus 3:14).  Furthermore, observe Peter’s reaction to Jesus (Luke 5:8 cf. Isaiah 6:5). 

Look In and Around

The vision had an effect on how Isaiah saw himself.  He said in reaction to the vision, “Woe is me, for I am undone” (damah) means “cease, cause to cease, cut off, destroy” (Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius, cf. Hosea 4:6; Obadiah 5).  He continued, “Because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).  By “unclean,” he meant defiled, impure, out of place in the presence of the LORD (cf. Leviticus 13:45-46). 

The vision also had an effect on how Isaiah saw others.  He said, “And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).  Isaiah saw man’s impurity before God.  Why the emphasis on “unclean lips”?  Perhaps, it is “because he found himself transported into the midst of the choir of being who were praising the Lord with pure lips” (Keil & Delizsch). 

We generally think of “Woe” as something not good.  It is frequently associated with judgment, or warning of judgment, or rebuke.

However, in Isaiah’s case it is good.  It is an expression of humility.  It preceded forgiveness.  It preceded his commission as a prophet.   

Look Up

The LORD provided forgiveness (Isaiah 6:6-7).  Only God can forgive sin (cf. Psalm 32:5; Isaiah 43:25; Mark 2:7).  A Seraph took a coal/or stone from the altar to accomplish this.  The altar is either the altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-10 cf. Revelation 8:3), or the altar of burnt – offerings (Leviticus 1:1-17; 6:8-13; 9:24).  God provided the remedy for sin.  It seems reasonable to infer that Isaiah sought the forgiveness that only God could provide.  It is clear that salvation is from God.  The name “Isaiah” itself means “Jehovah is salvation.” 

Look Out

Isaiah’s vision had an effect on his sense of duty.  He said, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I!  Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8-9).  Those who are saved should try to save others.

One writer summed it up this way: “From this we can learn: (1) That man, defiled by sin, is unfit and unworthy to serve and worship God; he is unfit to carry the message of God to others.  (2) That only God can cleanse us from these sins and make us fit to serve Him.  (3) That men who have been cleansed by the power of God should not allow their past to keep them from serving God (Lester Kamp, Houston College of Bible Lectureship, editor David Brown, Isaiah, p. 113 quoting the 1957 Gospel Advocate’s Annual Lesson Commentary, pp. 85-86).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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