God, Who are You When My World is Shaken? | Isaiah 6:1-5
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Isaiah had never seen anything like it. Before him was the Lord seated in all majesty and might, surrounded by angels who had to cover their face (they could not look directly at God’s glory) and feet (acknowledging their lowliness) as they hovered around the throne. These heavenly creatures were calling back and forth, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is filled with his glory.” This three-fold repetition of God’s holiness indicates the strongest superlative. But what do we mean when we say that God is holy?
God’s holiness places him separate from and independent from us. He does not conform to a holy standard; He is the standard. “He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is” (Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy). While our best action is tainted by sin, all that God thinks and does is perfect and completely pure. When we begin to grasp God’s perfection, like Isaiah we come to a sudden realization of our personal sinfulness and proclaim, “Woe to me! I am ruined!”
That’s the realization that prompts our need for a Savior. Standing before the holy God there is no place to run or hide. So, as Tozer says, “We must take refuge from God in God.” We are only safe and secure in Jesus whose holy sacrifice on the cross covers and eternally protects the believers. Jesus turns our cry of despair—I am ruined!—to the glorious proclamation—I am redeemed!
Father, it is easy on this unholy earth to view unholiness as natural and normal—even in ourselves. Today give us just a glimpse of what Isaiah saw. Help us to see ourselves as you see us. Help us to be disturbed by our sin. Thank you for Jesus. May we find forgiveness and protection… and friendship with Him. Amen.