Sensory overload. Colors so bright that eyes still hurt. Every nerve straining. Heart pounding. Nostrils overwhelmed with the scent of smoke. Incense. Shaking fingers. Write.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord…
Close your eyes. Can you see Isaiah–weeping and trembling on the floor, the roar of heaven still thundering through his soul? In the middle of a nation’s grief over the death of a king, the Lord caught Isaiah up into the heavens to listen in on a Triune-conversation. He saw the Lord. The Lord. The One who sits in unapproachable light. The One who is an all-consuming fire–a burning, jealous flame. The One from whom Moses was hidden, for no man could see Him and live. The One who spoke and it was done. The God of glory who thunders in the heavens. Isaiah saw Him; and he lived.
Isaiah 6 says that he also saw the seraphim flying around the throne of God in incessant worship. Holy. Holy. Holy. Holy. Holy. These are the burning ones, so consumed by the worship of Him on the throne they do nothing else. Holy. Through generations they have stayed with one adjective. One thought. God is holy.
And yet, as Isaiah stood before the throne growing ever-increasingly aware of his own impurity, one of the seraphim diverted from the one-word refrain enough to elaborate.
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Is. 6:3)
Then the temple shook and filled with smoke, a poignant foreshadowing of what was to come to those in the Upper Room at Pentecost. What brought such a violent overflow of glory?
I think it’s interesting to note here that the smoke and the shaking came in response to the voice of an angel and not God Himself. We expect the voice of the Father to cause lightnings and rumblings. The God whose words created the universe would naturally have that kind of power. But an angel, lost in worship? Had the glory of the Lord even invaded the earth at that point?
No–and that’s the point. Habakkuk 2:14, Numbers 14:21 and Isaiah 11:9 both speak of the coming day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory. In Psalm 72:19, the psalmist prays for the day that the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. However, the seraphim in Isaiah 6 speaks of the glory of the Lord on the earth as an accomplished fact, and his prophetic declaration produced a shaking through the temple of God. He showed us the fullness of worship–to become consumed by the very nature of God and touch the place that beats in His heart; then to take that revelation and make prophetic decrees according to His desires. We see the manifestation of the Spirit when we declare in agreement with Him.
This goes beyond simply telling Him what to do; we have to first know Him–truly know Him. We will not see the miracles we want without first giving Him the intimacy He wants. It’s time to relinquish the “cosmic vending machine” approach to God in our churches and begin to live like we believe what we read in our Bibles. All of Israel will be saved. The earth will be filled with His glory. These signs will follow those who believe.
An intercessor to whom I was listening a few months ago asked a question that continues to resound in my spirit. She was talking about Paul and Silas worshipping in the darkest watches of the night in prison. They sang praises to God, the place shook and their chains fell off. We don’t know what they sang, but we know their voices moved God. I leave you with the question she asked that day:
Does your worship cause earthquakes?