Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
Alive and in God’s presence
May 30, 2021

Alive and in God’s presence

May 30, 2021

Metropolitan UMC, Indian Head, MD

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Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

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Summary

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In the year that king Uzziah died. This sounds as though it were written sometime after the event, but while the memory of the great vision was fresh. We do not have enough facts to be sure when this was. Many dates are given. A good case can be made for the year 739 b.c. From this time on the fortunes of Judah declined.

Isaiah saw the Lord (v. 1) in a vision, in which he also saw himself as in the temple, whether he was there actually or not. The point is that the prophet had a vision of the Lord, and was radically changed by it. Isaiah paints the picture of his vision in broad strokes, and does not fill in the details, about which there has been so much speculation. It is fitting that he does not describe God (any more than does Ezekiel, or the John of Revelation). Even the seraphim covered their faces before the Lord. The seraphim are mentioned only in this vision, so we can only speculate as to their nature. All Isaiah makes clear here is that God does not dwell in “splendid isolation,” but has a host of subservient attendants. On this point both the Old and New Testaments agree, though we are nowhere given much further information about any such heavenly beings. The importation of extrabiblical concepts to explain the biblical references is speculation of a dangerous kind.18 The statement that the seraphim stood above the Lord is a Hebrew idiom which simply expresses the fact that they were standing near Him ready to be of service, while He was sitting.[1]

 

 

[1] Kenneth E. Jones, “The Book of Isaiah,” in Isaiah-Malachi, vol. 3, The Wesleyan Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), 33.

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