“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” “So I said: “Woe is me for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1, 6 (NKJV)
The scene surrounding our devotional passage is divinely intimate, private and personal, yet we are given a brief glimpse of the awesomeness that surrounds the presence of God as shared with us by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah envisions the throne of God. While the text does not indicate it; if there is a throne there must be an altar. The altar always precedes the throne. If there is an altar there is no doubt that Isaiah is in worship. The altar is always representative and emblematic of prayer, sacrifice, and worship. Further evidence of Isaiah’s worship experience is witnessed by the presence of angelic beings called “seraphim” that hover above the throne of God as they minister in worship. It is within the context of this perfect, pure, and peaceful atmosphere that Isaiah declares that he “saw” the Lord. Scripture clearly states that no man has ever seen God at any time (see John 1:18), therefore what Isaiah saw was the “glory” of God much as Moses did in Exodus 33:19-23.
Perhaps it can be said that worship is of greater importance than praise. We worship God for who He is. We praise Him for what He has done, however, you cannot understand or appreciate what He has done until you clearly understand who His is; His attributes, His perfections, and His character. Throughout the pages of God’s word, you never find Him looking for those to praise Him, but He is found seeking to find those who will worship Him. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 (NKJV) True worship is not mere form and ceremony, but spiritual reality, which is in harmony with the nature of God who is Spirit. Worship must also be “in truth”, that is to say, transparent, sincere, and according to the word of God.
While we are active participants within the context of the worship experience, worship is never about us. However, the grace of God allows us to receive residual benefits as a result of spending time in the presence of God. His presence reveals the sinful and inadequate nature of our own righteousness. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV) God allows Isaiah as He does us, to stand in His holy presence filthy, wretched, unrighteous, and in the words of Isaiah in the text, “undone” and “unclean.” God’s presence reveals to us in the midst of our worship who we are and where we really our within the context of our relationship with Him. Thank God He doesn’t let us stay in the condition that we come in. There is cleansing and healing in His presence. “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away and your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6-7 (NKJV)
After God’s cleansing there is His calling. All men and women are “called” to God yet only a few respond. The presence of God will not allow us to run, deny, or avoid the call. If we are listening to His voice during worship He will reveal to us His next move for our life. And because we know His voice we willingly surrender and obey. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us?” Then I said, Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV) In other words Isaiah is saying and we should as well, “Lord it is all about you and not about me, but if you send me, I’ll go.”