Loss of a leader can be a very disorienting time. The one to whom people look for guidance and protection was suddenly gone. The king had died (Isaiah 6:1). It was at just such a moment that Isaiah saw the Lord more clearly than ever before. Human authority was removed and the ultimate authority came sharply into view. It was indelibly etched in his mind.
That amazing presence sat enthroned, filling the temple. Seraphim proclaimed His holiness in chorus. The case was stated emphatically in triplicate. There was no one to compare anywhere on earth. He reigned, and the creation proclaimed it. His glory permeated the entire world. His magnificence overwhelmed Isaiah. A glimpse of perfection magnified his imperfection. Step closer. Look more carefully. Remove every flawed representation, and we will see Him as He truly is. We will see ourselves, as well.
The world trembled. So did Isaiah. His self-awareness shook him down to his toes. Step into the presence of the holy God and everything looks grimy in comparison, particularly our own hearts. The undiluted light of divinity exposes every blemish, and they are ugly. Face-to-face with flawlessness strips away our carefully crafted spiritual veneer. No wonder most folks prefer to keep the Lord at a distance. It’s more comfortable out in the shadows but much less beneficial.
The proclaiming seraphim did something that only heaven can do. Isaiah’s self-esteem had taken a beating. He was riddled with the ruination of sin, and there was nothing he could do. Guilty! He was, knew it and couldn’t fix it. It took something out of this world to resolve his dilemma, and that is precisely what occurred. Heaven came down and solved his sin problem. There was no other way. There still isn’t.
It was that clear view of the Lord that opened Isaiah’s eyes. He saw himself in the presence of intense purity, and his impurities were glaring. He was made acutely aware of his sins. Have we stepped into that same probing light? We have if we have opened up the word of God and let it have its way with us (Hebrews 4:12-13). We will see like we never have before. It dissects and exposes. It examines. It is unlike any other literature in the world and searches out every nook and cranny of our hearts.
We will find the true and living God described in those pages. It tells us that his thoughts and ways are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8). Jesus revealed Him to the shock of the religious leaders of His day. He may shock us, too. It is likely that we will discover qualities about Him (And ourselves!) that we never expected when we dive deeply into His word. Be prepared. It may be an Isaiah-type experience leaving us rattled but forgiven, when we see the Lord as He truly is.