“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Isaiah 6:4)
What was the result of the seraphim’s constant praise of the LORD as holy, holy, holy? There were two.
First, “the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called.” The foundations refers to a unit of measurement. Perhaps this pertains to the earthly temple Isaiah may have been near. It is the solid ground base on which a building rests. The threshold refers to a strip of wood or stone forming the bottom of a doorway and crossed in entering a house or room.
Isaiah had crossed the threshold from the common to the uncommon. He had crossed the threshold from the secular to the sacred. He had crossed the threshold from the profane to the holy. This is to be the believers’ perspective each and every time they enter into a place in order to worship the LORD. Places of worship are often called a sanctuary. The word sanctuary, in the context of worship, is the inmost recess or holiest part of a temple or church.
The foundations of the threshold shook. It vibrated, trembled and tottered. Why? It was because of the voice of each seraphim who called out and proclaimed the LORD to be holy, holy, holy.
The second result of the seraphim’s praise was that “the house was filled with smoke.” The temple, literally “the house,” was filling with smoke. This is a reference of God’s righteous and holy wrath. Psalm 18:6-12 David writes, “6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.”
On commentator explains that, “Most significantly, the Hebrew words āšān, for smoke, is used of Yahweh in two ways. First, smoke is a marked attendant to the theophany’s to Abram (Gen 15:17), Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex 19:18; 20:18; cf. Psalm 104:32; 144:5; II Sam 22:9; Psalm 18:8; Isaiah 4:5; Joel 2:30, and in Isaiah’s vision of God (Isaiah 6:4). The origin of the figure is obscure, but the portent is clear. Smoke (along with fire) proclaims the terror of Yahweh, the confrontation of his holiness with man’s sin. Secondly, the verb and noun may refer to the anger of Yahweh (Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 74:1; 80:4; Isaiah 65:5).”
What effect will this scene have upon the Prophet Isaiah? Discover the answer when next we meet.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!