By Gareth Maggs.
Isaiah 6 is a biblical text I often dwell on. Each time I think about it, I find a new reason to be blown away by the Lord. Why? This text gives us a glimpse into Isaiah’s vision where he stands before the Lord almighty. If you got a glimpse of the greatness of the Lord, wouldn’t you play it over and over in your head?
The scene must have been overwhelming! The Lord is so great that he sits above everything else (vs 2), has beautiful creatures constantly flying around him singing his praises (Vs 2 and Revelation 4:8), has a robe that fills the temple (vs 1), is covered with smoke to prevent lesser beings from gazing upon him (vs 4) and speaks with a voice that shakes the foundations (vs 4).
This scene is awesome and it has a profound impact on Isaiah. I want to explore this impact, because I believe if we truly understand this passage, it will change every moment of our lives. Here’s how
It helps us treat God like the sun, and not like the sun
It looks like I’ve made a typo above. I haven’t. We often treat God like we treat the sun. We know the earth revolves around the sun, but we speak as if it revolves around us. We call our first viewing of the sun ‘Sun rise’ and we call the last viewing of the sun ‘Sun down’. We do the same to God, we live life as if he revolves around us. We try build our own lives, our own careers, our own families and our own self-esteem. We only call upon God when we need help in achieving our own ambitions, as if his purpose is to revolve around us. To worship us.
In Isaiah 6, the first lesson Isaiah learns is perspective. He sees the grandeur of the Lord and understands that the Lord does not revolve around us. He begins to treat God like we should treat the sun. He says ‘“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!” (ESV vs 5). Seeing God, He exchanges his own take on the world for God’s and immediately sees our biggest problem is not our daily struggles, our relationship issues, it’s not our career, nor our self-esteem, nor the poor or war; while these are important, our biggest problem is our ‘unclean lips’. Our sin.
Do you wake up with your take on the world as more important than God’s? Do you see sin as greater than your own problems? If not, then you will never see why the cross is the greatest reason we praise the Lord. You’ll be angry at God for not worshipping you by building your dream life, when he has already solved the root of your problems by being nailed to a tree. You need to get perspective. God needs to become greater, and we need to become lesser
No more fear of anything but the Lord
Last week when walking from the gym (Sorry couch, your work on my stomach had to end), I passed some pre-school boys about to get into a fight. It was one against three, yet the one showed no fear. With great pride he proclaimed to the others, ‘My dad is bigger than your dad’. Luckily a teacher came before he got beaten.
Why did he not fear? What was it about his dad that gave him confidence? After much thought, I realised that out of all the weapons he had against these bullies, dad was the most powerful. How did he know that? From his perspective dad is big, He fears him more than the bullies. In Isaiah 6 Isaiah not only sees just how great the Lord is (6vs 1 – 5), but experiences it through the Lord solving his greatest problem, his sinful nature (6vs 6 – 7). Isaiah’s response is staggering. The Lord calls Isaiah by saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? (vs 8)” and before the Lord even explains the task, Isaiah says “Here I am send me”.
Isaiah responds like this as he knows that whatever task the Lord has for him, he can do it without fear. Isaiah fears God more than anything. He has the most powerful weapon. If you have a small view of God, then you’ll accomplish little for him. He’s not a God to be feared and therefore won’t be big enough to take on your fears, leaving you to only rely on yourself. If you have a big view of God, then you can take on the world in confidence, knowing that whatever area of life he has called you to live in, you can deal with it. Your God is greater.
Not even doubt can separate us from him
This point probably fits best under point 2, but I decided to keep it separate as I think one of our biggest fears is doubt. It could be doubt in the Lord, doubt in our salvation, doubt in the ability of the Lord to lead our leaders, doubt that the world is getting better, etc. Doubt is a daily fear.
This week an event I heard about made me think. A teacher told her class that she was doubting the Lord. Immediately I thought, ‘No, you shouldn’t share that with children, what if they start doubting the Lord too?’. During that week, one of the children went home and created a promise box, filling it with verses showing how God is always faithful to his people, even when they doubted him. The next week, she gave this box to her teacher to help her in her doubt.
That teacher was not wrong in telling her class her doubts, because God is greater than our doubts. That little girl taught me that when I doubt, I need to look at all the promises he fulfilled in his word, because no matter the obstacle, no matter the unfaithfulness of the human race, God proved his greatness by always being true to his promises.
I wrote this article to move us from seeing the greatness of God as something that merely wows us, to something that changes the way we do life. Seeing the Glory of the Lord made Isaiah shift his perspective and caused him to live for the Lord without fear. Our response should be the same, our only fear should be the Lord. When tempted to join unethical practices in the work place we can shout, ‘My God is greater’. When we fear the future of our country we can shout, ‘My God is greater’. When we fear the future of our children, we can shout ‘My God is Greater’. When we are afraid of the grave, we can shout, ‘My God is greater’. When we don’t think we can make it through school or university, when we worry about school fees or whether we’ll get through the month, let us proclaim at the top of our lungs, ‘My God is greater’.
He may not solve things the way want, but he has promised that he looks after his people. If our God is so great and he’s on our side, then let me ask this, “Who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).