This post is an excerpt from the devotional Behold: 40 Days of Seeing and Savoring God
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What stands out to you in this passage? This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I find this particular scene to be incredibly evocative—it makes me want to behold God. It stirs such awe and wonder within me. He leaves me awe-struck. You may have read this particular story before and, if so, I encourage you to put yourself in the story. Try to imagine what is happening in this incredible scene!
When the Lord Appears
Picture this scene with me, and feel free to create your own word picture if you don’t like mine. Whenever I read this story, I always imagine a cavernous, dark, stone room so silent that you could hear a pin drop. It’s the type of room where someone’s footsteps reverberate throughout the space. King Uzziah has died. This is a humble, somber, and mournful moment. Imagine how emotionally and maybe even spiritually raw Isaiah was.
In that dark space, the Lord appears in all of His splendor. His throne is beaming with His glory and His face is so bright that we dare not look at it. Instead, we gasp at the pure white train of His robe. It’s so long that it billows out and takes up the space of the room. It’s no longer dark, empty, and mournful. The King has arrived.
What a sight to behold! The angels call to one another, praising and extolling God. Their voices are so thunderous that the walls begin to shake, but God’s throne is secure and immoveable. A swirling smoke begins to fill the space; the earth is having a physical reaction to the presence and goodness of God. In His presence, things can’t stay the same.
How would you have reacted if you saw God in all His splendor?
Isaiah’s first response is repentance. He immediately confesses his sinful state when confronted with the pure holiness of Almighty God. Here we see that God doesn’t use His omnipotent glory to punish or demean the lowly Isaiah. Instead, He honors Isaiah’s humility and heals him. And God does the same for us too! When we understand our sinful nature and humbly confess our sins to God, He extends forgiveness, healing, and freedom to us.
God is good and God is great. We see both of these attributes in full display in this wondrous story.
Isaiah’s repentance is a beautiful form of worship, which is just as incredible as the angels’ response to God’s glory in this passage. These amazing creatures (who are so weirdly described that I can’t even fully picture them) were declaring God’s holiness. They were speaking truth, calling to each other the sweet song about God’s character. They were proclaiming His goodness to whoever would listen.
Isaiah likely went through a roller coaster of emotions in this passage: sorrow, fear, awe, lament, and more. These verses remind me that no matter how we’re feeling or what we’ve been through, God’s greatness is still true. His holiness is still intact. But He isn’t out of sync with how we’re feeling, nor is He dismissive of us. God meets with us because He loves us. He is gentle, caring, and kind while also being righteous, just, and holy. We serve an immensely glorious God who seeks to be with us. No matter how we’re feeling today, let’s embrace His presence. Let’s behold Him today!
What is God saying to you?
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.”