In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 6:3-5).
Imagine, with me, the experience Isaiah had at the time. This was the year that King Uzziah died. This was a turbulent time, full of sorrow and uncertainty.
Uzziah had begun his reign “doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Then he became prideful, disobeyed the Lord, and died a leper. Another king had been a disappointment. However, in the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah also saw the Lord sitting upon a throne with his train filling the temple. A king had died. A nation was in mourning. Despite all of this, God was high and lifted up over it all! Nothing had changed with Him!
In our day — despite a pandemic, political upheaval, and societal unrest — God is still high and lifted up. If we will look, He can be seen above the fray. He is high and lifted up in His holiness. He is high and lifted up in His ways. He is high and lifted up in His thoughts.
Notice Isaiah’s response to seeing the Lord. Keep in mind, Isaiah was a good man — a prophet of God. He was in awe at the sight of God on His throne. He was in awe of the proclamation of God’s holiness: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” When the posts of the door began to shake, Isaiah said, “I am a dead man because I have seen the Lord. I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among an unclean people.” Surely we can relate to these words.
Isaiah 64:6 lets us know how inadequate our goodness is, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Follow this up with Romans 3:23 which says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” God is high and lifted up in His holiness; we are not lifted up in our goodness.
Some appear to be trying to bring God down to their level so they can feel comfortable, even when they know they are in the wrong. The real challenge for us is to see the awesome holiness of God and strive to rise above the sins of this world. This means we desire to be more like Jesus. II Corinthians 3:18 says it well, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Secondly, God is high and lifted up in His ways. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” God’s ways are always better; God’s ways are always right. This is true even when we don’t understand why He works things out the way He does.
Most of us can admit that we have gone through things that made us wonder why God allowed them to happen. Have you ever looked back years later and said, “God brought me through a difficult time to bring me to the blessed place I am in today”? Sometimes, He allows things to be uncomfortable so we will learn to trust Him and be willing to launch out into greater endeavors. Again, God’s way is always better; God’s way is always right.
Finally, God is high and lifted up in His thoughts. Hear the words of Isaiah 40:13-14: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him the path of judgement, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” Carnal minds will never come close to the thinking of our God. This is why Scripture says we are not to conform to this world. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. May we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts so they will be pleasing in His sight.
Allow me to share three more verses from the book of Isaiah. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”(Isaiah 55:7-9). Let us see God as Isaiah did — high and lifted up.
In our loss — God is high and lifted up!
In our struggles — God is high and lifted up!
In our good times — God is high and lifted up!
God is always high and lifted up!
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.