For the week of February 2, 2002 / 20 Shevat 5762
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 18:1 - 20:23
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1 - 7:6, 9:5

The Devastating Truth

The whole earth is full of his glory (Isaiah 6:3).

Isaiah had a heavenly vision. Maybe his reaction surprises you:

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined!" (6:5).

I always thought that I would love to have such an experience. I would think that seeing something like this would rid me of any lingering doubts I may have about God's existence. It would change my life for the better. I would live the rest of my life as a modern day Bible hero.

Not having such an experience, I cannot say what it would actually do to me. But I can look at Isaiah and see that it would be quite devastating. If you are familiar with the other dramatic revelations of God in the Scriptures, then you know that Isaiah's reaction isn't all that unusual. Seeing heavenly things is pretty scary.

This section of the Book of Isaiah begins by telling us that this was around the time of King Uzziah's death - a time of uncertainty for the nation. King Uzzaiah had been a great king who came to a sad demise because of his pride. Times of uncertainty tend to cause us to question the things that we hold dear, including our belief systems.

In the midst of such a time heavenly reality confronts Isaiah:

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory (6:3).

Look at the second part of this statement: "The whole earth is full of his glory." The term "glory," "kavod" in Hebrew, refers to the outward manifestation of one's character and ability. Someone may claim talent, intelligence and other internal attributes, but when those things are demonstrated outwardly in life, they become that person's glory.

God's glory is the tangible evidence of his invisible attributes.

When the creatures called out, "The whole earth is full of his glory," they were proclaiming that God's reality was being evidenced throughout the entire world.

This was not how Isaiah was seeing things. His belief in God may have been intact, but it is likely that he had trouble accepting that God's reality was affecting the entire world, let alone the situations around him.

It is possible that he had been expressing his doubts to others. That is why he confessed:

I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips (6:5).

He knew that it was the heavenly creatures that spoke the truth - not himself or his people.

Isaiah was devastated by this truth, yet he accepted it, which prepared him to serve God in the days ahead.

From that time on Isaiah would speak out the truth as God would reveal it to him, no matter how contrary it seemed from what was going on around him. His understanding of the great contrast between the heavenly reality and the supposed earthly reality that surrounded him enabled him to confront it just as it first confronted him.

That same truth confronts us today. Each day we have a choice as to which reality we will believe, which reality will guide our speech, which reality we will live according to.

Will we let the truth devastate us too?

Comments? Please e-mail: comments@torahbytes.org

E-mail this TorahBytes to someone? Click here

Subscribe? To have TorahBytes e-mailed to you weekly
enter your e-mail address and press Subscribe

[ More TorahBytes ]  [  TorahBytes Home ]