“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… Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips:for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts…Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:1,5,8 KJV)
A vision of God’s glory is the most distinctive, indescribable, life-changing experience any man can have. The revelation of God’s glory to an individual will lead to a transformation of his life. It is in the light of God’s awesome Majesty that we can properly see ourselves and others around us. Isaiah had such a vision and he was never the same man thereafter (Isaiah 6:1-8). Ministry takes a new dimension when a man sees the Lord.
Isaiah had previously seen great men as a ‘palace prophet’ spanning the reign of four kings (Isaiah 1:1). Eventually, he saw also the Lord. Isaiah had obviously been in ministry for some time (having given five chapters of prophecy already), what then could have made this year most auspicious for him to see the Lord? Presumably, he may have been shaken by Uzziah’s ignominious death (2 Chronicles 26:1-23), which may have stirred in him a desire to seek God. He had seen kings on thrones, but now he saw One that not only sat on a Throne but was “high and lifted, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” The Seraphim, who ministered to God in worship, could not even look upon Him, they had to cover their faces because of the brilliance of His presence.
There is no human language that can adequately capture the greatness of God. Moses, when speaking about the distinctiveness of God, said: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11 NIV). Hannah, in her song declared: “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2). The Psalmist also said: “None can compare to you among the gods, O Lord! Your exploits are incomparable!” (Psalm 86:8 NET). Prophet Isaiah then asked: “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?” (Isaiah 40:18 NIV). Paul described Him as: “…the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 16 He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15-16 NLT). Indeed, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3)
Naturally, we do not have a proper frame of reference about God’s Majesty. God is bigger than we can ever think or imagine. Someone asked in a song: “Show me the size of your God?” How we perceive God will determine our attitude towards Him. From the Scriptures we observe that those who encountered God were awe-stricken by His glory. Job thought he knew God but when God showed up, this was his confession: “In the past I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 GNT). It’s so easy to get ‘familiar’ with God that we lose the sense of reverence for Him.
When we truly encounter God we come to know our true weight on His scales. We may feel we are doing quite fine and develop smugness about our godliness but a vision of God’s glory will show us how we truly are (Isaiah 64:6; 65:5). Isaiah’s encounter made him see himself in light of God’s glory. He realised that he had a ‘tongue problem’ like the people around him. He realised that he needed help to be free. The fire from heaven’s altar that touched his tongue brought cleansing and also set a new course for his ministry. Henceforth, he was a man with fire on his tongue. This was Isaiah’s personal revival and transformation.
When we see God correctly, and see ourselves truly then we can objectively see the world around us. There will be a definite change in our perception of people, their behaviour and their needs. If we see people as an audience we would likely perform to impress them; if we see them as pawns then we would manipulate them; if we see them as enemies we would either avoid or fight them; but if we see them as members of the human family whom Jesus died to redeem, we would do everything to save them. The man healed of blindness saw men “as trees walking” (Mark 8:24). He needed a second touch to see people correctly. That is the kind of touch we need today.
A vision of God would birth compassion in our hearts and a fresh zeal for witnessing. Nothing stirs up the passion of a Christian for soul winning like personal revival. There is a boldness that comes from knowing that one is in sync with the Almighty God. The reason a lot of Christians are shy and “tongue tied” may be because they are disconnected from the Throne. No wonder their heart is lukewarm and lack fire. Fire creates motion; lethargy is a symptom of lack of fire. Having been revived by the vision of the Lord, Isaiah “heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” He was now ready to say “here am I, send me.”
A vision of the Lord will change our perception of whom God is, which will lead to reverence and worship; it will enable us to properly evaluate ourselves in light of God’s holiness and glory, which will result in repentance and humility; it will make us to see people the way God sees them and so make efforts to help them. Now is the time to seek the Lord in prayer and study of His word until we have our personal revelation and encounter with God.