In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
We are given the specifics of a vision that Isaiah has of God in this passage. People debate whether this passage deals with Isaiah’s initial call from God to be a prophet or if it is another call. Either way the vision is monumental. Let’s think about the details we see in these four verses.
First of all, He sees the Lord sitting upon a throne. The throne is elevated as many earthly kings thrones are often placed. He also sees his “train” that filled the temple. The word for train here speaks to his royal robes. He is regal and resplendent in majesty.
Secondly, He sees the seraphim above the throne. The word seraphim means “fiery ones.” They are standing above the throne. They are described as having faces, feet, and wings. They had 3 pairs of wings. One pair covered the face. Some have said that this is a response to the glory of God. The second pair covered their feet. This could be a response of humility, understanding their own lowliness in the presence of such majesty. The last pair were used to fly. They are clearly there to praise and to serve as they call back and forth to one another. Their praise was focused on the primary attribute of God, that is, His Holiness. This is the attribute to which all of the others are connected. They also proclaim that the “whole earth is full of His glory.” The created world, even in its fallen state, points to the intelligence, power, majesty, and eternality of God.
Lastly, Isaiah saw the effects of God’s presence and His praise. The place was shaken. The volume and veracity of what was being proclaimed was so intense that it shook the temple. We also see that the “house was filled with smoke.” In the scriptures smoke was often a reference to God’s presence. Often, it was an indication of His anger and judgement. Because of the message that He will give Isaiah to deliver, we can venture that this indication is correct.
A few responses are in order, but cannot exhaust all that could be said here.
- The whole vision should enlarge our view of who God is. It has been said that if we see as He sees then we will do as He says. God is infinite in His Holiness, His power, His righteousness and His majesty. That He loves us is a good thing, because to stay His enemy would be most unfortunate.
- Praise ought to be the fruit of our lives. Notice that the praise of the Seraphim was coming from an understanding of who God is, and from an understanding of who they were. Without these two realities understood properly, an adequate proclamation of praise cannot be rightly executed. This is why only the regenerated heart can rightly worship God. We cannot worship God without first dealing with our sin, and acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord.
- How large is your view of God?
- Is praise the fruit of your life that flows from a proper understanding of who God is and who you are?