December 14, 2022

December 14, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
December 14, 2022

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 lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:1-8

I’m sure you have said this, or you’ve heard someone else say this, maybe to you “Who do you think you are?” That question can be asked in anger and maybe a high level of irritation. It might be asked in a way that’s really a rebuke, “Who do you think you are? you have no right to think that way or behave that way.” Let me just give a couple of examples, if I went to the White House this coming week and made my presence known and insisted that I speak to the president of the United States “Right now!” What if I somehow got into the Supreme Court precincts and was able to get hold of a security guard and I said, “I would like to have a face-to-face talk with the nine Supreme Court judges.” I’m sure there would be people that would ask, maybe even laugh, “Who do you think you are, you arrogant fool?” They don’t have time for you, you’re just a nobody. Here’s the question you might ask, maybe we should ask ourselves this from time to time; How do you and I come into the presence of a God expecting undivided attention? Who do you think you are?

Isaiah chapter 6 gives us a sense of who God is. Notice again Isaiah 6, A thrice holy God holy, holy, holy, sitting upon a throne of infinite majesty and absolute sovereignty. One man has described God right here sort of this snapshot, “God is super superlatively holy.” That’s how he describes God, “He possesses a moral character that’s impeccable, infinitely pure and holy.” And it’s very clear that Isaiah the prophet has the high sense, does he not of how great God is. He sees God high and lifted up. At the same time, he’s keenly aware of his own sinfulness. He’s pierced to heart and cries out “Woe is me; I am undone.” He’s devastated by his own sinfulness and also overwhelmed by God’s holiness. Everything about God, I would say in this vision says he’s unapproachable, don’t come near him. Someone has said the church today has lost sight of God’s holiness. The fear of God is pretty well absent from most people’s thinking today and I think we’ve also lost the sense of our sinfulness. Remember Isaiah was a holy man, this is not at the front end this is a recommissioning by God. Here he makes what you might call a rediscovery of his sinfulness and God’s holiness. He’s devastated, “Woe is me I am undone, I’ve gone to pieces.”

But look here there’s more, the prophet is not left here groveling in the dust, at the front end you could say he’s trembling but at the back end he’s rejoicing. Something wonderfully gracious happens that changes everything. Look at verse six and seven, when Isaiah is feeling at his worst overwhelmed by the holiness of God and his own sinfulness, God comes to the rescue and brings Isaiah to a deeper experimental acquaintance of divine grace and forgiveness. One of the strangest creatures, I think this is the only place they appear in scripture the seraphim, one breaks rank and flies towards Isaiah and has in its hand a burning coal and he comes with a word of forgiveness, touches his mouth and says, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” And look at Isaiah’s response, again he’s a saved man and no sooner does God give him a new assignment or a call for action and Isaiah responds as quickly as quickly can be, “Here am, I send me.” I think it could be put this way; Isaiah captures a glimpse of the gospel in a fresh new way. That’s why so many have said, I think it was Jerry Bridges who said, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” That explains I think more than anything else Isaiah’s willingness to serve, what you could say all hands-on deck. I think we could argue those who are best acquainted with divine forgiveness are the most ready and eager to serve God. Didn’t Jesus say that to some degree? Not exactly like that but remember that woman who anointed his body with oil. She wiped his feet with her hair. What did Jesus say those who are forgiven much they love much. You could say those who are forgiven much love much, but they serve much, they serve much. And I hope brethren we never lose sight of this grand privilege, this fundamental blessing of the gospel, forgiveness. It should never ever cease to amaze us and spur us on, I would hope it does that as well spur us on to greater godliness and service for Christ. We are accepted and forgiven in Jesus Christ. So, go back to the question, who do you think you are? The answer, I’m forgiven I’m accepted in the beloveds all because of Christ Jesus his blood and sacrifice. There’s a wonderful hymn in the Trinity hymnal titled, My God how wonderful thou art. Here’s the first two lines it sort of captures in a nutshell what Isaiah the prophet experienced here. Thy majesty how bright, how beautiful thy mercy seat. That describes Isaiah experience, he sees the wonderful God in majesty seated upon the throne, but he also sees how gracious he is, the mercy seat.