Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. Isaiah 6:2–4
As Isaiah sat praying in the temple, the Lord arrived in all His glory, surrounded by worshipping angelic beings. This was almost certainly a manifestation of Jesus Himself as we shall one day see Him (see John 12:41). Hundreds of years before He was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was already on His throne ruling the world.
The first stage in an encounter with God is the dawning awareness that He has drawn near in an unusual way. That’s the awakening to His presence that we talked about yesterday.
The second stage is a fresh confrontation with the true character of God. Isaiah had an encounter with His fiery holiness. Later in this same episode, Isaiah will glimpse the compassionate love of the Lord—but first comes holiness.
So it is with us. We must be reminded of the purity of God, His goodness and “otherness,” or we will forget that He is God. I think it’s fair to say that modern preaching can sometimes go too far in making Jesus relatable, turning Him into a toothless wimp who is so eager to forgive that He just winks at sin and gives out goodies. A fresh encounter with God’s holiness will renew our understanding that there are global, universal, eternal matters at stake and that the One at the reins of them all is higher and beyond us. That He is a being of epic proportions, a God worthy of our obedience and service.
Think about it
Why do you agree or disagree that God’s judgement and holiness are as important to remember and teach as His love? What if that causes those around you to claim you are being intolerant?