Our reading in Isaiah 6 today gave us thoughts that are high and lifted up! But then we contradicted ourselves and felt as low as one can possibly be! What caused this?
Isaiah has a vision of “the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple”. There are two seraphim and one says, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is filled with his glory” (verse 3). The foundations of the thresholds shook at the sound of this voice. We can understand this by considering the wonder of God’s glory in creation, and the wonder of our own bodies which are the crowning glory of that creation. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We can also understand Isaiah’s words as a vision of the future glory of God at the end of the 1,000 years’ reign when he says, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5) when the Creator Himself comes to dwell on earth (verse 30).
But note the impact this vision has on Isaiah; “Woe is me for I am lost! I am a man of unclean lips” (verse 5). He experiences an overwhelming realization that in contrast to this glory, we are all nothing! What am I, what are we, compared to the Creator of all things? We are less than nothing! Imagine Isaiah’s feelings! Visualize yourself in his shoes. Then Isaiah sees a seraphim bring a burning coal to touch his lips to cleanse him. He responds to the call to proclaim God’s message to the people. “Here am I, send me” he responds. Now, what sense of responsibility do we have?
The phrase “high and lifted up” occurs in only two other places and both are in Isaiah. The remarkable message of Isaiah 53 starts from verse 13 of the previous chapter, “Behold my servant shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted”. This picture of our Lord is fulfilled in his lifting up to be with his father – but first there is the crushing weight of his prayers in Gethsemane. The other place is in chapter 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose Name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him (her) who is of a contrite and lowly spirit …” Wonderful! Remarkable!
Moses learnt this before God called him at the burning bush; Paul learnt this as he was led into Damascus! And us? Have you, have I, experienced this? If not, then is it possible, even likely, to happen someday, especially as this world falls apart and we realize that the only source of strength is in God.