Isaiah 6:1. In the year that King Uzziah died
You remember him, that leprous king, that king who had thrust himself into the priests’ office, and was smitten of leprosy, and shut up in a separate house during the rest of his life. In the year that he died Isaiah saw a greater King, whom no defilement can ever touch, a King that reigneth and lives for ever, though Uzziah dies.
Isaiah 6:1. I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Whenever you read in the Old Testament that any man saw the Lord, understand it of the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes himself as we have said, visible to men, and God in him.
Isaiah 6:2. Above it stood the seraphim: each on had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
There are the spirits that dwell in the presence of God, nearest to him, and as he is a consuming fire they come to be like him, for the seraphim are burning ones, consumers, burning and shining lights, who wait upon God, who is light of life. Notice how humble they are in that presence; they cover themselves before that Infinite Majesty.
Isaiah 6:3-4. And one cried upon another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
And if even the voice of a seraph moved the very foundations of the temple, what will the voice of God do when he shall speak once more? According to that word, he shall shake not only earth, but also heaven. What awe and trembling should be upon us when we wait upon God, if even the posts of the dove move! “Then said I, woe is me!” All God’s saints do this when they get a view of him. There was never a boastful thought in any man’s mind in the presence of God. They that talk of their own purity have not known God, neither seen him. How could they! This is the cry of all the purified when they come into the presence of God “Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” What made him think of lips, but the voice of the seraphim as responsively they cried to one another, “Holy, holy, holy”? Then he thought of his own lips. Oh! brothers and sisters, what impurity comes out of our lips, perhaps more there than anywhere else is the impurity of the heart discovered in our idle words, our evil words.
Isaiah 6:5-7. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Just where he felt the impurity, there he felt the expiation. His lips were unclean, and now a touch of the altar coal, a communication from the great Sacrifice, hath taken all his iniquity away, and his sin is buried.
Isaiah 6:8. Also I heard the voice of the lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.
Observe the unity and the plurality, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Upon what theory, but that of the doctrine of the Trinity can we explain so singular a change from the singular to the plural “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I. send me.” This man, so lowly now, so purified with the vision of God, just seen by him, how cheerfully does he spring forward at the word of invitation. “Here am I, send me.” Now see what a sorrowful mission God, in these next verses, assured Isaiah that his ministry so far as the conversion of the Jews were concerned, would be altogether fruitless; they would not receive his testimony.
Isaiah 6:9-10. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
What a ministry, dark with insufferable light! So bright, so clear, that men should have wilfully to harden their hearts, and shut their eyes if they did not understand and receive it.
Isaiah 6:11-12. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
So it happened, as you know, the people were carried away captive; they still refused, they would not believe even, till Christ came, and then the destruction of Jerusalem, and the sweeping clear of their country was the final stroke of God. “But yet in it shall be a tenth.” There is always a gleam of light from God’s grace in the thickest darkness of his justice. God hath his tithe.
Isaiah 6:13. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
And, therefore, the Jewish nation is not destroyed, but still exists, and the Church of God is not destroyed, despite all that happens to it. There is a substance in it, according to the election of grace, for which may God be praised.