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Isaiah’s vision of God terrified him and changed him.

The sixth chapter of the book of Isaiah is powerful. In it, we read of Isaiah seeing God on sitting on His throne, surrounded by angels who are all worshipping and praising Him. “Can we have a similar vision” we ask. The answer is Yes! But it will be different than we think-or want!

Isaiah was a powerful and influential man in the political structure and culture of his day. He had all that he needed to be successful. This all ended when the source of his power and influence died; “In the year of King Uzziah’s death…” Isaiah 6:1a. This left him with, in his eyes, nothing.

Isaiah the prophet had looked at things the way his society looked at them; based on their own motivation and prejudice. What was the result of this? He declared “woe” on the people, who were, in his eyes, “they”. The people God gave him to minister to and walk with had become a depersonalized thing, a “they” to be corrected. In our language they were canceled because they did not live up to the standard Isaiah set for them. Then God showed up!

Many things are happening in Isaiah six. One is the revelation of the powerful, overwhelming nature of God’s mercy and grace being force-fed to Isaiah, and each of us. Gone is the “they”, gone is the “woe to you”, and in their place is the salvation, love, and mercy of God.

We see this in two scriptures, one before chapter 6, one afterwards. By the way, most of the book of Isaiah, all his great prophecies and insights, are after chapter 6. Here is an example of pre chapter six Isaiah, “So the common man has been humbled and the man of importance has been abased, but do not forgive them” Isaiah 2:9. Isaiah is telling God what to do, and to withhold forgiveness from those who sin.

After the revelation of chapter six, we read this in chapter 44, “Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He shows forth His glory” Isaiah 44:23. Now we see the heart of God alive in Isaiah, who is proclaiming God’s glory in the redemption of those he once condemned. This is how God wants us to think and live!

No, this does not mean everyone is now saved and all is well. But the motivation of Isaiah, the “why” of his life is now changed. Gone is the worldly influence he enjoyed, in its place is a new motivation, a new “why”. God has shown Isaiah how He looks at people and what motivates Him. The terror felt when he saw the giant flying fiery snakes (that is what a seraphim is) has been replaced by the awe of a merciful and gracious God. He now fears God and what will happen to his people if they do not respond to God in repentance. God’s motivation had replaced Isaiah’s!

Now when we ask, “Can this happen to me” the answer is “Yes!”. It can! God is calling all those who follow Him to have the same revelation that Isaiah had. It can, and should, happen to all of us. We are being called to live with grace and mercy, just like Isaiah!

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