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The Revelation of God’s Glory to Isaiah

God’s Glory in the Prophets

5 min

A proper view of the glory of the Lord adjusts our perspective on all of life. Easily, we can have faulty views of ourselves, of others, of current events, and of our circumstances. But when we see the glory of God, everything comes into proper focus. As we see ourselves and others in a truer, brighter light, we are humbled. Current events no longer alarm us, and we are not distracted by the shortcomings or great achievements of those around us. We begin to see every trial and every joy in the larger context of God’s glory and honor.

The prophet Isaiah had a vision of the glory of the Lord that shaped his entire worldview. A man who has a proper view of God’s glory is forever changed. The scene of Isaiah’s vision is set for us in the opening verses of Isaiah Chapter 6. The king of Israel, Uzziah, had just died, and the focus of the prophet was turned from the throne room of the earthly king to the throne room of the Heavenly King.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). Uzziah was one of the better kings of Judah as recorded in II Chronicles 26:4, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.”

King Uzziah had a long and prosperous reign that spanned fifty-two years. He restored the city of Jerusalem to its former glory that it had under Solomon. He waged war against the Philistines, the Ammonites, and the Arabians, and he commanded international respect throughout the Middle East. His workmen dug wells in the Negev desert, and agriculture of all kinds flourished under his righteous reign. He fortified Jerusalem, strengthened the city’s walls, reorganized and increased the army to over a quarter of a million fighting men, and even equipped the walls of Jerusalem with new military technological advances, such as catapults or trebuchets! All these details are recorded in II Chronicles Chapter 26.

But sadly, Uzziah’s heart was lifted up by pride, and he attempted to offer incense in the Temple. For his haughty transgression, the Lord struck him with leprosy, and the king died in shame and was buried outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Sometimes the hearts of God’s people are set too much upon the success and accomplishments of others, such as a Godly leader like Uzziah. This misplacement of the heart can happen in churches, when congregations begin to extol and follow a popular pastor instead of the Word of God. This false hope can arise in the government realm when an elected official accomplishes many good things, but then his heart becomes lifted up with an inflated sense of his own importance. This misdirected adoration can occur in business, in entertainment, in the military, or in any organization when a leader becomes puffed up with pride and self-importance. We must realize that leaders, even good ones, are only human instruments in the hand of a God Who alone is worthy of praise.

Isaiah the prophet witnessed the tragic fall of Uzziah. When Isaiah’s eyes were drawn away from the king in Jerusalem, they were focused instead upon the God of Heaven. The Lord was sitting upon a throne, and His train filled the Temple. Uzziah, a king, had dared to perform a priest’s function. However, unlike Uzziah, the Lord Jesus Christ is both King and Priest. He has a throne, and He occupies the Temple!

Isaiah proceeded to describe more fully all that he heard and saw in the throne room of Jehovah. “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:2–4). This majestic imagery is very similar to what John the Apostle described in Revelation Chapter 4.

Not only Heaven is filled with God’s glory. Isaiah proclaimed that “the whole earth is full of his glory” (verse 3). The glory of the Lord pervaded everything that Isaiah saw. The glory was not only of the throne but was also the glory of the One sitting on the throne. The glory of the angels did not capture Isaiah’s attention but rather the glory of the Holy One Whom the angels worshipped. The smoke of the incense did not call for Isaiah’s worship; instead the Lord Himself and His glory evoked Isaiah’s worshipful response.

Isaiah answered with the only proper response to such a scene. “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).

Having seen the glory of God, Isaiah could now properly see himself. He could also see those around him in a clearer light. Suddenly, the dazzling sights and sounds of earth were no longer so bright. In contrast to God’s glory, the glories of earth seemed sordid and unclean in comparison. The alluring temptations of the world were no longer so attractive.

Continuing in Isaiah’s account, an angel came with a “live coal” from the altar to cleanse the lips of the prophet and to ready him to carry the message of God’s glory to the ends of the earth. After Isaiah’s cleansing, the Lord expressed a need for a messenger. Now Isaiah responded as a humble heart can only respond: “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

The Lord commissioned Isaiah the prophet to go forth as His messenger. Amazingly, the God of glory is willing to use human instruments to accomplish His purposes in the world. God is able to use the weak, and He fortifies them with His strength. God is able to use the timid, and He fills them with His boldness. God is able to use even the unclean, and He is willing to cleanse them in the blood of the Lamb.

Isaiah served as the messenger of the Most High, proclaiming the glories of the coming Redeemer. The remembrance of God’s glory never left his heart. More than twenty-six times in his book, Isaiah the prophet extolled the glory of the Lord! The Book of Isaiah foretells the day when the Messiah, the “root of Jesse,” shall “stand for an ensign of the people . . . and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10).

Isaiah prophesied the coming of John the Baptist. According to Isaiah 40:5, he proclaimed of that day when “the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” In Isaiah 42:8, the prophet emphasized the exclusive nature of God’s glory: “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

The coming days of the Gospel’s publication to the ends of the earth are in view as we read in Isaiah 59:19 of the day when the God of Israel will be worshipped from east to west. “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”

To the Gentiles walking in spiritual darkness, Isaiah offered a ray of hope! “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1). The ultimate manifestation of God’s glory was revealed in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him Isaiah directed the attention of the nations.

Having seen the glory of the Lord himself, Isaiah wanted all men and all nations to behold the glory of the Lord too! Isaiah was forever changed by a glimpse of the Lord’s glory. So also will we be changed forever if we take our eyes off the glories of earth and focus them upon the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ.

This article is from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series.

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