In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.…
(for Trinity Sunday): — We have here the proper inauguration of the great evangelical prophet to his future work; and one which, in its essential features, resembles very closely the inauguration which other eminent servants of God, alike under the Old Covenant and under the New, obtained; — Moses (Exodus 3:6); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6-9); Paul; Joshua (Joshua 1:1); Gideon (Judges 6:12-24); Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:3); Peter (Luke 5:4-10). God's messengers go mot until they are sent, and presume not to deliver a message which they have not received directly from the Sender.
1. And, first, he gives the date of the vision. What meaning may there sometimes be in a thing which seems so simple as a date! What significance, what solemnity may it sometimes have, as surely it has here. How simply and yet how grandly are earth and heaven here brought together, and the fleeting phantoms of one set over against the abiding realities of the other.
2. But if God's throne is in heaven, the skirts of His glory reach even to the earth: "His train filled the temple."
3. The glimpse afforded here to the Church of the elder dispensation of that great crowning mystery which the Church of the newer dispensation throughout all the world is celebrating today. In this Trisagion we have, it is true, no more than a glimpse of the mystery; even as in the Old Testament more is nowhere vouchsafed. More, in all likelihood, the Church could not then, nor until it had been thoroughly educated into a confession of the unity of the Godhead, with safety have received; while yet it was a precious confirmation of the faith, when, in a later day, this mystery was fully made known, to discover that the rudiments of it had been laid long before in Scripture.
4. But what is the first impression which this glorious vision makes upon the prophet? His first cry is not of exultation and delight, but rather of consternation and dismay. "Woe is me," etc. Even the heathen, as more than one legend in their mythology declares, could apprehend something of this truth. If Jupiter comes to Semele arrayed in the glories of deity, she perishes, consumed to ashes in a brightness which is more than mortality can bear. So, too, it must have fared with Moses, if to him, still clothed in flesh and blood, that over-bold request of his, "Show me Thy glory," had been conceded; if it had not been answered to him, "Thou canst not see My face; for there shall no man see Me and live." "We shall perish, for we have seen the Lord of hosts," was the ever recurring cry of those saints of old; and even such is the voice of the prophet here.
5. Yet that moment with all its dreadfulness is a passage, in some sense the only passage, into a true life. And such the prophet found it. Observe the manner in which sin, the guilt of sin, is here, as evermore in Holy Scripture, spoken of as taken away by a free act of God, an act of His in which man is passive; in which he has, so to speak, to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; an act to which he can contribute nothing, save indeed only that Divinely awakened hunger of the soul after the benefit which we call faith.
6. Behold in the prophet the fruit of iniquity taken away, and sin purged. Behold the joyful readiness with which he now offers himself for the service of his God.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.