“In the year that King Uzziah died….” Isaiah 6:1
King Uzziah began his reign as a good king, doing what was favorable in the sight of the Lord and as a result God prospered and strengthened him. But “when he became strong he grew proud” and considered himself sufficient to carry out the priestly duty of standing before the holy God and offering sacrifices. In his pride he thought he was good enough, clean enough to face God’s holiness. He didn’t need the priests, he could handle it.
Wrong! When confronted by God’s priests with the truth of his apostasy, he raged and was struck with leprosy, living in isolation and disease until his death. (2 Chron 26)
Isaiah had a very different response to the holy God.
“Woe is me…” Isaiah 6:5
In the presence of the holiness and the glory of God, Isaiah realized his lack. He knew he had the stain of sin on his lips and supposed he was lost. Uzziah assumed he was enough; Isaiah knew he was not.
God graciously gives glimpses of his holiness so we can recognize the infinite gap between his greatness and our smallness; this awareness is the beginning of true worship.
The true way to be humble is not to stoop till thou art smaller than thyself, but to stand at thy real height against some higher nature that will show thee what the real smallness of thy greatness is. …. Phillips Brooks
It’s amazing, isn’t it? The holy God, the one who lives in unapproachable light comes to you as he came to Isaiah. What other response is possible but to trust his grace?
Don’t be like Uzziah, taking your connection with God for granted and forgetting that you need God’s mediator standing between your unholiness and God’s perfection.
God’s purifying fire of love touches your sin-stained lips, imparting his worthiness to you through Jesus Christ. When you are touched and transformed by such a fire, you are able to hear God’s call and you are ready to respond with a willing and eager heart.
- When have you had a glimpse of God’s greatness? How did it feel? What was your response?
- It’s easy to forget in whose presence we stand when we enter worship. How can you ensure you don’t take God for granted?
- What prevents you from saying, like Isaiah, “Here am I; send me!”?
Originally written for CBC’s weekly devotional thought.