Isaiah: Lord Most Holy & Prophet Most Lowly

Peter Barnes: Isaiah 6:1-5

(14 October 2018)

E. J. Young, Allan Harman and the NKJV say that this was Isaiah’s inaugural call. James Packer says that it was Isaiah’s conversion. Calvin is surely right in saying it is the confirmation of Isaiah’s call. Barry Webb calls this chapter ‘a majestic peak over the surrounding terrain’.

1. It was Christ in the temple.

– 6:1. The year is about 739 B.C., according to Edwin Thiele. Uzziah as king of Judah had reigned for over fifty years in an age of prosperity and growth. However, read 2 Chron.26:16-21. This Lord is Adonai in verses 1, 8, and 11, and Yahweh in verses 3, 5 and 12.

– to see God is to die – Ex.33:20; Judges 13:22. But Isaiah saw the Son, not the Father – John 12:40-41. To see God apart from Christ is to die; to see God in Christ is to live.

2. The Lord is unutterably holy.

– 6:2. Reginald Heber’s Holy, Holy, Holy: ‘Seraphim and teraphim, falling down before Thee,/ Which wert and art and evermore shall be.’ Thomas Binney’s Eternal Light: ‘The spirits that surround Thy throne/
May bear the burning bliss;/ But that is surely theirs alone,/ Since they have never, never known/ A fallen world like this.
Calvin: ‘If angels are overwhelmed by the majesty of God, how great will be the rashness of men if they venture to intrude so far!’

– 6:3; Lev.19:1-2; Rev.4:6-8. One Babylon Bee headline: ‘Drugged-up clubber suddenly realises she’s in church worship service.’
3. Our first response is to be convicted of sin.

– 6:4; like Ex.19:16. Isaiah was overcome – 6:5. See Luke 5:8; 1 Cor.15:9; Eph.3:8; 1 Tim.1:15. Isaiah had pronounced ‘woes’ on Israel (5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22). Now he pronounces a ‘woe’ on himself. He has a renewed sense of his own sin, even in his words.