Articles & News

What Isaiah Saw

April 29, 2024

-Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from "What to Do When You Want God's Will"

What brings life’s greatest satisfaction? Ask anyone who has walked with God for a long time, and they’ll likely say a similar thing: To know you are doing what pleases God. But how do you know God’s will?

With that as our foundation, let’s peek into the throne room of heaven at a glimpse of God never seen before ….

Isaiah begins his account on a sorrowful note. He takes us to a funeral. Good King Uzziah is gone. Isaiah wonders, Now what will happen to our nation? Indeed, these were the beginning of dark days for Israel.

With this in mind, Isaiah enters the temple where he makes a two-fold discovery, one that God’s people also need to make today.

Isaiah’s first discovery was that the real king of Israel and Judah was not dead, and not even sick. The real king was still on the throne.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. -Isaiah 6:1

Isaiah realized that behind Judah’s earthly throne was the heavenly throne, and God was still sovereign and ruling over the affairs of this world.

A great many people today share Isaiah’s feelings of hopelessness. Just look at the news—the world looks dark, even frightening. Isaiah seemed to feel hopeless about the future. A golden season in Israel’s history ended with Uzziah’s death, and no one could take his place.

However, God reminds Isaiah that He is still on the throne. And friend, He is still ruling in the affairs of men today.

Many people hold out the belief that someday there will be someone who will solve the world’s big problems. During an election year, we’re given the impression that the people running for office will have the answers to financial issues and health issues and solve everyone’s conflict. My friend, don’t be deceived by the fantasy that any man or woman can replace God, create a new age, a better and beautiful world, or bring about a perfect society. Behind the thrones of this world is the throne of God. And God is still on it. He still rules in the affairs down here. This little universe has not slipped from His control.

Next, Isaiah saw that the One sitting on the throne was “high and lifted up”—He was a holy God. When we learn this about God, we have no excuse for being pessimists. Every child of God should be an optimist. Our God is a holy God. Isaiah’s prophecy teaches us in Isaiah 53 that God is the Savior on a cross, and now in Isaiah 6, we learn that God is the Judge on the throne, high and holy, whose sovereign will prevail down here in the end.

Next Isaiah tells us that above God’s throne “stood seraphim,” a sort of highly created intelligence, above the average angel. They seem to reach out in judgment, dealing with sin. The word “seraphim” means “burning,” indicating perhaps that they are on fire to protect the holiness of God. In God’s presence they repeat over and over, “Holy, holy, holy is God.” Their purpose is to communicate to us that we stand before a holy God.

You and I deal with a holy God who made it clear that He can save us on only one basis—by grace. Though He loves us, He doesn’t save us by love. Certainly, He does love us. It would break your heart and mine if we knew how much He loves us, but He cannot save us by love. He saves us by grace, by paying the penalty for our sins Himself.

The forgiveness of God is not sentimental. He didn’t save us because He is big-hearted. God never forgives until the penalty is paid—never. The reason He can forgive your sin and my sin is because His Son, nearly 2,000 years ago, paid for it on the cross. He redeemed us—bought us back from the penalty we deserved.

When forgiveness is mentioned in Scripture it always references the blood of Christ. We have forgiveness of sin. How? Through the blood of Christ. The penalty has been paid. My friend, that is God’s method.

Our God is moving in this world against sin even at this very hour. He is moving forward undeviatingly, unhesitatingly, uncompromisingly, against sin; and He will not stop until He drives it from His universe. He will not even accept the white flag of truce. He will not make peace with it. He intends to remove it from His universe. He makes that very clear.

I’m grateful to Him for that promise, because sin has brought wreckage to the human family. Sin puts grey in our hair, a totter to our step, and a stoop in our shoulders. Sin breaks our hearts. Sin brings horror and suffering. It fills the cemeteries. I thank God He will not compromise with sin! It will not be in His universe for eternity.

God has made a plan whereby He will redeem those who will come His way and accept His salvation. He is a holy God. We need to get this back into our thinking today. God is on the throne, and He is a holy God.


This excerpt is from "What to Do When You Want God's Will." Download yours for free.

My Turn

“We live in a day when people think they can rush into God’s presence and treat the Lord Jesus as if He is a buddy. May I say to you that Jesus is high and holy and lifted up. If He should appear in your church next Sunday morning, nobody would rush up to Him and slap Him on the back. Everyone would be on their faces before Him. That is the picture the Word of God gives of Jesus’ holiness.” -Dr. J. Vernon McGee

  1. How do you think about Jesus’ dual roles—as our advocate, friend of sinners, approachable God, as well as Him “high and lifted up—holy, unlike any other”? How does this impact/change the way you think about Jesus?
  2. Read about this throne room of God from another perspective in Revelation 4 (it will take only a minute or two to read the whole chapter). What do you see as similar to Isaiah 6? How do these views make you feel?
  3. Why is it critical to understand God’s holiness? How does it change the way you see sin and what God did to give you victory over sin?