Revival of a Great Prophet-4
The Great Coverup Act
Unlike the covering act in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve where they tried to cover up their sinfulness, the seraphs tried to cover all that they were given by the Lord (beauty and excellence) so that they would become His true worshippers and servants. First, they covered the most beautiful parts of their body, their faces, with their own wings willingly and voluntarily. But they have more to cover, as we go forward with the narration of the events in the temple. When the glory of the Lord is exposed to us, we can’t withstand the power of His glory and so we run for cover even in our best of capabilities. That takes us to the eagerness of the seraphs to cover their feet.
Cover the Feet
We find the seraphs cover their feet with two of their wings. Feet talk primarily about their walk, work, and achievements. All of these personal gains which give the seraphs the kind of prestige, popularity, and prominence in the eyes of the beholders are now declared unworthy by the seraphs and so they cover it with their wings. They shudder to exhibit all their personal glory in the presence of the glory of the Lord. To them, these personal glimpses are like garbage as Paul declared it (Philippians 3:7). This is yet another challenge to the great prophet in his personal life and in the ministry. He might be made to wonder if it is appropriate to think of him as a ‘prophet’ or as an unprofitable servant.
Feet also talk about their weaknesses because of the dirt that they gather as they travel around and minister. But when they come to the presence of the Lord, any of the filth that they might gather on their feet is quickly and consciously covered because the seraphs are fearful about exhibiting these in the light of His glory.
We should not lose track of the fact that the feet of those who declare the good news are beautiful (Isaiah 52:7). And these seraphs are the carriers of good news that our Lord is seated on the throne, high and lifted up and that His glory is unfathomable. But even such feet are not worthy to be exhibited in the presence of the glory of the Lord. Such is the magnificent lesson coming from the temple for us in the light of our total unworthiness and the Lord’s pre-eminence that we are able to learn, along with Isaiah, through the revelation of His glory.
The Lord allows Isaiah to witness to the worship of the seraphs to teach him lessons of his unworthiness which is a lesson to every Christian everywhere at all times.
The Wings that Fly
It is the heart that flies before the wings and the body because the heart is fully sold out on the glory of the Lord. The heart is so moved as to fly swiftly to declare the glory of the Lord. When we see that the seraphs fly and express their adoration to the Lord, we see that the seraphs can’t stand still and adore the Lord. Once they start, they can’t even stop and take a break because the glory of the Lord compels them to keep on flying and moving and expressing adoration. They are moved because of the impact of the glory and the person of the Lord that they have experienced in their hearts. They are thrilled and encompassed about His salvation which they declare.
Why do the seraphs repeat utterance about the holiness of the Lord? Apparently, they are not satisfied with uttering it once or even twice. They wanted to sing about it more and more until they are satisfied that they would have witnessed the glory and experienced it. But they realize that they can’t be fully satisfied with speaking about it that they keep on repeating it. Such repetitive worship will never lead them to boredom because it is living sacrifice and keeping on active as long as time and eternity would last. It is also likely that each of the three utterances is for each Person in the Trinity, the Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit. They want to repeat the affirmation of His glory which is worthy to be affirmed and reaffirmed forever.
Let us now focus on the pitch and tone of the utterance of the seraphs! The seraphs can’t keep a low tone and pitch and be soft-spoken about it because of the impact it has created in them. They want to use all their energy to express themselves because this is the greatest song of the glory of the Lord which they can keep on singing. It has impacted them so much as to raise their pitch and sing about it at the top of their capacity and strength. They responded to the extent of their maximum ability to sing about Him who is seated on the Throne. These gestures and responses are the evidence of the impact the glory of the Lord has created in the seraphs. If we are impacted by the power of His glory, our worship will rise above our routine patterns and will find that the sky is the limit to our expressions. It will thus reach the uttermost part of the earth and will turn it all upside down (Acts. 17:6).
It seems the seraphs were totally involved in serving and worshipping the Lord to the extent to which their six wings, feet, eyes, mouth, heart, emotions and body were fully embodied in it. This is a continuous activity in heaven which is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. As we are all seated in the heavenly places, it is expected that our worship today also emanates to that level in a dynamic manner.
The seraphs were shouting at the top of their voice so that all could hear their voice and their praise. Such shouts were to send shockwaves to the whole world or even the universe about the reigning Lord. They had no embarrassment or reservation as to who were all listening. They didn’t care who was listening and who was taking offense about their shouts. They actually wanted the whole world to listen to such high-level business of glorifying the Lord.
Modern science tells us that sound is very powerful and that it can move and shake up its immediate environment. So is the voice of the seraphs as they sang the praise of the Lord. The immovable door posts were moved at the power of their voice. Even today His voice moves the immovable hearts and lives of people. The space in the temple gets filled with smoke as all the empty spaces are filled by the Lord. This spectacular chain of events is capable of dynamically changing every rocky heart. But we wonder if it has sufficiently impacted prophet, Isaiah? So also, is it adequately impacting our contemporary prophets, preachers, and pastors? It seems many of our modern day preachers are like the Pharos of Egypt who has not known the real ‘Joseph’ and His glory (Exodus 1:8).
The seraphs and their loud and impact-oriented praises ask us as to whether there is smoke or fire in our hearts as we witness the expression of the glory of the Lord(Psalms 39:3). Perhaps we are not able to witness the fire and the smoke because we are not meditating enough to see the image of the glorified One in our hearts.
The Prophet’s silence
All the while as the events in the Throne Room unfold, we need to watch Isaiah the prophet learning great lessons that the Lord wanted to teach him. He is stunned and speechless and in a great shock. He has not seen anything like this so far in his ministry. This astounding scene has penetrated into every corner of his heart, soul, and mind. When the environment has also been impacted through the sound of the worship of the seraphs, the prophet begins to respond. When the prophet came into the temple, his mind was so much preoccupied with the apprehensions about the future of Israel and so his heart was heavy. But the unfolding events shifted his focus from his problems to the Lord God Almighty who is still on the Throne. As he witnesses heavenly worship, Isaiah forgets about his problems and the removal of the king from the throne by the Lord. When he looks at the Lord, he was compelled to look into his own heart. He was filled with repentance and he begins to utter words of confession.
As we read the story, we might be compelled to think that the prophet has reached a level at which he would have had several questions in his heart. These questions could have been:
a. Why these heavenly beings are so much moved as to continue to pour out praises and adoration to the Lord?
b. Why do they never get tired of repetitive worship?
c. Why they are moved so much as to shake up even the environment?
d. How they are able to focus on the holiness of the Lord forever like this?
e. Why do they show no sensitivity to the onlookers about their spontaneous worship of the Lord?
The answers to these questions might be seen in the subsequent and consequent behavior and utterances of Isaiah. He realizes the height and breadth of the sensitization of the seraphs about the greatness and glory of their Lord. We might see the prophet being challenged to examine his own heart and life to see what hinders him from offering such qualitative worship as that of the seraphs. Perhaps his preoccupation with the cumbersome situation is now giving way to the greatness of the Lord. The message from the Lord to Isaiah was to look at the seraphs and learn lessons about his own wrong disposition. At that moment, he breaks his silence and begins to speak.