This article on Isaiah 6:1 shows the greatness of God and the majesty of God.

Source: Clarion, 2010. 2 pages.

Isaiah 6:1 - A King Beyond Description

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:1

Isaiah the prophet is about to start his prophetic ministry among the people of Judah in the last days of King Uzziah (cf. 2 Chronicles 26). The mission that Isaiah will receive from God is very difficult. Isaiah has to tell the people that “they will be ever hearing, but never understanding” (Isaiah 6:9). Isaiah will preach until he is blue in the face, but there will be no or very little positive results from his work.

And so in order to prepare Isaiah for such a challenging task, our majestic God gives Isaiah a vision. But this is no ordinary vision; Isaiah gets a small glimpse of his God, the great King of Kings. Isaiah needs to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the majesty and holiness of his Sender.

Isaiah sees our God in a common kingly posture: sitting. And He is sitting on a throne that is “high and exalted.” In the Ancient Near East, the mightier a king, the higher was his throne. And now Isaiah sees a King seated so high, that he says the same thing in two different words: “high and exalted.” By repeating this truth, Isaiah emphasizes just how mighty this King is.

But Isaiah goes on to talk about this throne being in a temple. And the temple that Isaiah sees here is no doubt the heavenly throne room of God, of which the temple in Jerusalem was only a small picture. Throughout the book of Revelation and elsewhere in Scripture, the throne room of God is also compared to a temple with a lamp stand, pillars, and altars.

Now the prophet Isaiah certainly knew what the earthly temple in Jerusalem looked like. That was the place where God was present with his people Israel in a special way. And when Isaiah sees God in his throne room, this throne room is compared to the temple that he knows and understands. Isaiah uses that which he knows and understands to describe something that he does not know and understand.

But we must note in particular what Isaiah sees of God. He says that he sees the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, but then he does not go on to describe at all what God looks like. In fact, all that he describes is the train or the end piece of God’s robe. How strange is that? Here Isaiah is confronted with the Mighty King of Kings, and he only tells us a little about the tail end of his clothes. Can you imagine someone going to see Queen Elizabeth II and then describing nothing of her, apart from the heels on her shoes or the plume on her hat?

And yet it is incredible what Isaiah tells us about this train of God’s robe, this end piece of his garment. For this little bit of his garment alone already fills the whole temple, the whole throne room of God! But where is God then? Why does Isaiah say that this end piece of God’s garment fills the throne room? Isaiah simply wants to express the truth that God is too big for description. Words cannot express the greatness of our God. The Lord is too immense; He is too great to be described by any mere human.

This is a beautiful truth for us to keep in mind as we do our daily task. We cannot be ready to serve God unless we stand in awe of Him. We cannot be prepared to take up our work in God’s Kingdom unless we understand a little of the greatness and majesty of God. And what a powerful picture Isaiah gives for us here!

We have a great and majestic God. We serve a God who cannot be described in human terms. And yet this God was willing to come to earth and save us. He was willing to associate with us and rescue us from alienation and separation from Himself. Let us think of this loving, majestic Father each day as we seek to serve Him and as we grow in our devotion to the King of Kings.

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