When we enter the scene in Isaiah 6, we find Isaiah before the throne of God in heaven. The train of God’s robe, majestic and beautiful, fills the temple! Isaiah hears the seraphim, creatures we would think to exist in the fantasy world of Tolkien or Rowling, crying out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:2)
Isaiah sees the Lord high and exalted, and his immediate response is one of sorrow and grief.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah sees the Lord and is convicted of his sin. He knows he is not worthy of being in the presence of a holy God. So much so that Eugene Peterson translates his response as, “I’m as good as dead!”
But one seraph flies over to Isaiah and touches his lips with a burning coal. He says, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:7)
It is because God sees Isaiah that Isaiah then sees God.
God is the one who gives Isaiah the vision. God is the one who sends the seraphim with the burning coal to take away Isaiah’s guilt and shame. God is the one who sees, and God is the one who provides. And just like God sent the seraphim to Isaiah, he sends Jesus to us, who used “his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all.” (Hebrews 9:12 MSG)
In the same way, Isaiah did not do anything to deserve the atonement he received; neither can we do anything but receive the gift of salvation Jesus offers to us. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
When we realize that from the very beginning, God has seen us and put a plan in place that would unfold from generation to generation, resulting in our salvation, like Isaiah, we cannot help but respond, “my eyes have seen the King of glory!”