Holiness: Isaiah’s Vision of the LORD.

When addressing the subject of holiness in general, and the holiness of God in particular, arguably the definitive biblical text to consider and study is Isaiah 6:1-7. Our study of this classic chapter will begin in earnest this upcoming week. Today, I leave you to meditate upon not only the text, but also several comments from various pastors and theologians about the text.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “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!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:1-7.

“God’s holiness. Exodus 15:2. ‘Glorious in holiness.’ Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psalm 111:9. ‘Holy and reverend is his name.’ He is ‘the holy One.’ Job 6:10. Seraphims cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.’ Isaiah 6:3. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God’s holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil, and cannot look on iniquity.’ Habakkuk I 13.” Puritan Thomas Watson

“He, the Prophet Isaiah, was so completely overpowered by this extraordinary vision as to forget that he was a prophet. For there was no feeling in him which was not overpowered by the presence of God, so that, like one who had lost his senses, he willingly plunged himself in darkness, or rather, like one who despaired of life, he of his own accord chose to die. And it is necessary that the godly should be affected in this manner, when the Lord gives them tokens of His presence, that they may be brought low and utterly confounded. Besides, in the person of His servant, God intended to strike His rebellious people with alarm; and therefore we need not wonder if He offers an apology for Himself under the overwhelming influence of fear, and like because he had not felt the weight of his office, as he now felt it, after having beheld an illustrious display of the majesty of God.” John Calvin

“Until we have seen ourselves as God sees us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over the conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life. We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing. We are not disappointed that we do not find all truth in our teachers of faith, fullness in our politicians or complete honesty in our merchants or full trustworthiness in our friends. That we may continue to exist we make such laws as are necessary to protect us from our fellow men and let it go at that. Neither this writer, nor the reader of these words, is qualified to appreciate the holiness of God. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.” A. W. Tozer

We will attempt to better understand the holiness of God as we consider Isaiah 6:1-7. May the Holy Spirit bring to each of us a grasp of the unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable holiness of God. May each of us be changed because of our encounter with the biblical text as Isaiah was in his encounter with the biblical LORD.

Soli deo Gloria!


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