"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 has been called "the greatest of the prophets." His book is larger than all the "minor" prophets put together. He was married and had at least one son according to 8:1-3. There is no record of his death, but tradition says that he was "sawed in two" as in Hebrews 11:37.
As a candle flickers before it goes out, so the nation of Judah was in its last days. The nation as a whole had rejected God. They were soon to reap the results of their rebellion by losing a war and being taken from their homeland as captives.
For the most part Uzziah was a good king. It was a crisis when he died, just as our nation was in crisis when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, 1963, (the 63rd birthday of my mother).
When the earthly king was gone, the King of the universe made himself visible to Isaiah. Isaiah needed assurance that all is well. Even when earthly pillars crumble, God still reigns. He was seen seated on a throne, high and exalted. He was not nervous. He was not pacing the floor of heaven and wondering what's next, either then or now.
The place of this vision is in the temple. In a time of crisis, Isaiah went to church! A good example! The name of the seraphs he saw means, "the burning ones," or "the flaming ones." Seraphs burn with devotion, love, and enthusiasm for God as we should and will!
"They covered their faces." Even though they are bright, so they must cover their faces as we shade our eyes from the brightness of the noonday sun. They flew, ready for service. So we need to be ready to go where we are told to go.
"And they were calling to one another: 'Holy. holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.'" The root idea of holy is to be separate. God is separate from sin and separate from all human limitations. The Hebrew language has no punctuation marks, so when they wanted to emphasize something, they repeated it. Here God is recognized not just as holy, or even holy, holy. But this excellency of God is raised to the third power! The Bible says that God is love, but it never says that God is love, love, love. Let us ponder what this means for our lives!
"The whole earth is full of his glory." May God give us eyes to see it!
After Isaiah recognized his own sinfulness in the presence of God, "one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, 'See, this has touched your lips (one of the most sensitive parts of his body), your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." The altar was where the bloody sacrifice had been offered. This sacrifice was the source of Isaiah's forgiveness. Just so, the bloody sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the source of our forgiveness and cleansing from sin.