I do not know anyone who have seen God, or even claimed to have seen God. But in the Bible we have records about what happens when one meets God. This particular record is contained in Isaiah 6:1-13 and recalls the Lord’s commissioning of Isaiah in the year 739 BC, at the death of King Uzziah.
As proposed by Henry Blackaby in his book “Experiencing God,” there are a number of reasons for an encounter with God:
- When God intentional meets you
- At a time of great personal need
- As a result of unexpected circumstances
- To tell you something about Himself
- To show you more about yourself
- To prepare you for a specific task
- As you consecrate yourself totally to Him
As one reads Isaiah 6:1-13, it is easy to notice the progression of Isaiah’s perpetration for God’s use. God does not usually take someone from one position and drop them into another without providing them with the tools to do His job. These tools may not be the type of tools which we in the flesh would choose, but God provided the perfectly for those who server Him in the Spirit. First and foremost, though, God wants obedience from us. Without that, we cannot start. These days, and perhaps especially these days, when the Lord is doing so much in preparation for the return of Jesus, we all need a fresh vision of the Lord God. We cannot get by on last year’s vision or on the vision of someone else. God moves on and we need to move forward also, seeking Him. Here we look at the progress, the process of one meeting with God, and how it changes a person.
Contact was made in v 1:4 where Isaiah says “I saw the Lord.” Isaiah has been taken to the Lord’s throne room; the throne was high and exalted and the train of His robe filled the room, the temple. Seraphs flew above and around calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of His glory.” As the sound of their voices filled the temple, even the doorposts shook.
The Lord had called Isaiah and he now stood in the Lord’s presence. Isaiah’s words here are measured and ones of disbelief. There is no boasting, no bragging; there is nothing of “self” here. There is so much to see, to hear, even to smell, for the temple was filled with smoke; but so little to say. The realisation of what was happening to him was slowly but surely sinking in to Isaiah’s mind. Yes, he was standing in the presence of the Lord God Himself!
Then the reality of the awesomeness of his visitation struck him as he cried out in v5 “Woe is me!” Or put another way – what have I done? How am I going to get out of here alive? Isaiah goes on, “For I am undone; 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, Jehovah of Hosts.” Isaiah knew that to enter Holy of Holies within the temple meant death, and even the selected High Priest only entered once each year after precise ritual cleaning and preparation. Yet here he was, standing in the temple of the Most High, totally unprepared and, into the bargain, a man of unclean lips. The Arabic phrase for “unclean lips” is samma sipwatha is still used today, meaning ‘sinful’. The crisis was now upon Isaiah, he knew he was in a predicament, a sinful man standing before the Holy God Almighty Himself.
As Isaiah stood there, a seraph took a live coal from the Lord’s alter and touched his lips with it saying v7, “Lo, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Isaiah had been cleansed. As the coal touched his lips all iniquity and sin was removed from him. He was now able to stand before the Lord, cleansed of sin, spotless. Isaiah must have been open-eyed as the seraph approached him with the live coal burning hot at the end of long metal tongs; but all that is recorded is Isaiah’s enthusiasm with the result – he was cleansed.
Isaiah was now available to receive his commission. In v8 we read “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me!” The Lord asked for a volunteer and Isaiah was right there “Here am I; send me!” There was now no longer any doubt, there was now no thought of anything but serving the Lord. “Here am I; send me!” was his enthusiastic reply to the Lord.
The Lord accepted Isaiah’s request and commissioned him “Go, and tell this people……. “
Isaiah was not and could not be the same again. He had been changed irreversibly in his encounter with the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Lord God Almighty.
Let us review the stages in his transformation to become God’s man, God’s prophet:
First: contact was made and Isaiah was called by the Lord. In this case, Isaiah was taken in a vision before God, to before His very throne.
Second: Isaiah faced a crisis of identity; of who and what God was, and of who he was; of how Holy God was, and how utterly sinful he was.
Third: Isaiah was cleansed
Fourth: Isaiah received his commission.
There is no doubt about it: true faith comes from a life-changing encounter with the living God, the maker of all things. When Isaiah met God he was changed. He received a new vision of who God was. He received a personal relationship with God. Like Isaiah we need a personal vision Jesus sitting at the right and of the Father. For Christians, there is no doubt but that true faith is rooted, based and founded in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah was go on from this commission to understanding what was to come, for as it is written in John 12:37-43 Isaiah also saw the Glory of Jesus :
“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.
Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Amen and Amen.