In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
What a vision to behold!
What a privilege to behold the glory and majesty of God like never before!
It is notable that this vision was granted to Isaiah in the year that King Uzziah died. Isaiah and the nation of Judah were in the throes of sorrow and mourning at the passing away of a glorious king. Under the reign of King Uzziah, Judah had enjoyed a lengthy period of peace and prosperity – 52 years to be precise. This was a king who brought economic prosperity, security and political stability to His nation during his reign.
Uzziah was a serious military force to be reckoned with whose fame went as far afield as Egypt. He was feared and revered by his enemies as a result of his military exploits and conquests. He not only subdued Israel’s arch-enemy the Philistines, but went even further by building his own cities in enemy territory. 2 Chronicles 26:6
He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines.
For a nation that was constantly plagued and taunted by the Philistines for centuries and generations, this was a major breakthrough. Uzziah also subdued another of Israel’s longstanding foes and made them his subjects by levying taxes on them. 2 Chronicles 26:8
The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong.
Such was the fear of Uzziah in the surrounding territories and region that he was held in high esteem and respect even in Egypt. More importantly the hand of God was clearly evident on his military exploits and the economical advances he masterminded. 2 Chronicles 26:7 God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites.
The death of this long reigning, extremely successful and God-favoured King must have cast a massive shadow on the nation of Judah over which he had ruled. After 52 long years in power, his passing away would have been keenly felt throughout the entire nation. There would have been a sense of loss and a feeling that those times were now well and truly over. Not only would the nation have been mourning the loss of a King who had reigned for so long bringing with him unprecedented political stability and economic prosperity, but would also be feeling apprehension at what would now become of them in his absence. How would the nations and their enemies he subdued and levied taxes on now react to His passing away? Would there be a revolt and how would they deal with it without him? The king that they had not only looked up to and trusted but had consistently delivered was now not there anymore. A period of uncertainty ensued. The king had left a vacuum in his absence and a dark shadow feel over the nation.
This long and dark shadow cast on the nation must have rubbed onto the young prophet as he too would have definitely been a beneficiary of King Uzziah’s long and prosperous reign. With his passing, it might even have seemed like God’s favour on the nation had also passed away not to mention the simmering apprehension in anticipation at what Judah’s enemies who were subdued by Uzziah would now do. It was in the year when a vacuum had been created by the death of the long-reigning King Uzziah that God visited Isaiah with a vision of Himself – a fresh and greater revelation of who He is.
It seemed like Isaiah needed to be reminded of the timeless and unchanging majesty and glory of God with the death of the King the nation so looked up to, in the backdrop. But even though it was in the year King Uzziah died Isaiah was visited by God, for Isaiah, the year was no longer marked by the death of this long-standing and great King
but by this glorious vision he received of the King of Kings seated upon His throne that fuelled his transformation and accelerated his calling.
For us too, in the year of a global pandemic which has cast a long shadow in our lives in one way or another, we need to seek God and pray that the year would not be marked by that shadow but by a fresh and deep revelation of God that, like Isaiah, would trump everything else we have experienced in the year, personally transforming and accelerating us in our callings and destinies. We cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and overshadowed by our temporal experiences when we have a God who not only remains unaffected by our temporal circumstances but rules and presides over them. We need to actively seek for a new, fresh, transforming and greater revelation and experience of God for ourselves.
Isaiah did not merely stumble upon his vision – God graciously gave it to him, graciously opened his eyes to His glory. In the course of the book it may have seemed to come out of nowhere and uninitiated by anything. But it was strategically timed by God to equip and empower Isaiah for the rest of his calling and ministry.
How will you remember 2020? Or rather, how would you like to remember 2020?
What do you want to remember 2020 for?
Friends, we need God to open our eyes, the eyes of our heart afresh to see Him for who and everything He is – highly exalted, in absolute control and majestical in holiness. In the last month of the year of the pandemic, we need to cry out to Him to open our eyes to a fresh vision of Himself. We need to be reminded and revisited with a fresh and deeper revelation of God’s greatness, majesty, glory and holiness at a time when
the world has been plunged into darkness and hopelessness. There is actually a choice here in how we want to remember 2020 or what we want to remember 2020 for.
We may not receive the kind of supernatural visitation God gave to Isaiah of Himself, but we can, and ought to, seek for greater revelation of the person, majesty, glory and holiness of God for ourselves – especially at critical points in our lives like these. God will unfailingly show up revealing Himself to each one of us according to the measure of our faith when we seek Him with all our hearts.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.