One of my favourite Biblical passages is Isaiah 6 when Isaiah had a personal encounter with Almighty God. What intrigues me is Isaiah’s vision of God’s majesty and holiness. Through that vision which came about in a year of great significance for Isaiah, the demise of his beloved King Uzziah had occurred (Isa 6:1). Perhaps for Isaiah, King Uzziah had been an anchor in his life but at that point in time, Isaiah had lost his anchor when King Uzziah died. However, God in His grace had chosen to give Isaiah something much better – a vision of Himself in all His splendour and majesty.
It was significant that the first thing Isaiah realised when he saw God was a vision of his own sinfulness. He saw his unworthiness and he was filled with a truly realistic vision of who he really was before a God who alone is all holy, totally awesome and full of majesty. Isaiah saw before him his sin and his unworthiness and he could only exclaim, “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.“ (Isa 6:5).
Not only was Isaiah guilty of his own sin, but he also realised that his people were equally guilty of sin like him. They deserved to be punished as he did. They could not save him and he could not save them, for they were all guilty sinners from the day of birth. Yet in spite of all these, the holy, awesome and majestic God had chosen to allow Himself to be seen by Isaiah.
Perhaps some of us may long to have a similar experience like Isaiah’s and wish to encounter God in a same manner. We say how marvellous it would be for us if we can meet God like that − face-to-face and without any hindrance. Yet, we do not realise how terrifying it would be for us (and certainly it was for Isaiah as well) to face God. When Isaiah placed himself against God’s holiness, he saw sin − his own sin and the sins of his people!
A friend rightly laments that modern man has lost all his sense of respect and awe for God today. We look at God as if He is someone whom we can give a friendly slap on the shoulder followed by a hug which says, “Hi, buddy”. It was not too long ago when such light-hearted casualness towards God was simply unthinkable and considered blasphemous. When Isaiah saw God, he saw his own sin and that of his people – human sinfulness! Do we nowadays?
Yes, we are now taught to regard God as a Friend but does it mean that we necessarily forget that our God is the Lord God Almighty? Even as we worship Him today, let us pause for a moment to contemplate on who God is. Let us realise afresh His holiness, our sinfulness and our need to be forgiven which is God’s prerogative and it is only Him who can give it to us through Christ. Let us now return to God in gratitude – it is the glory that He deserves.