A Picture, A Mirror, and A Window

Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah’s great vision by which he receives his calling can be discovered and applied in three parts.

  1. A vision of the Holiness of God – an UPward vision.
  2. A vision of the Sinfulness of self – an INward vision.
  3. A vision of the Need to be filled – an OUTward vision.

Every person who comes to know the LORD will go through this same process. In fact, as we walk with the LORD, we will find that we tend to rotate through these three stages. I’m not sure what stage you are at today, but let me offer you a picture, a mirror, and a window.

Photo by whimsicality

A Picture of God’s Holiness

Pictures are never as good as the real thing. Words are pitiful when employed with the task of describing God. I am curious to know if Isaiah read his words describing the scene he portrays in the sixth chapter of his book and felt as if the words were inadequate. His words give us a glimpse of the majesty of our LORD. God is so many things; He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. But perhaps the greatest difference between God and man is that God is holy and man is not; man is sinful and God is not. When you have a clear picture of His holiness, you will be looking into a mirror which reveals your true self.

A Mirror to See Yourself

When Isaiah saw the holiness of God, he could clearly see the sinfulness of himself. Being in God’s presence is like looking into a mirror that reveals all of your sin and weaknesses. That is why Isaiah said, “All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). But notice what happens when you continue to look into the mirror. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.

A Window to See the Need

Certainly you have notice the immediate excitement in one who has recently been changed and forgiven by God. They want to tell everyone what the LORD has done for them. Isaiah’s immediate response to having his sins forgiven is availability. “Here am I, send me!”

Luke 16 tells us of a certain rich man and a certain poor man named Lazarus. The rich man had everything he needed for a comfortable life. Lazarus laid at the rich man’s gate, full of sores and desiring the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. The rich man needed a window to see the need that was just outside his gate. If we have been saved by the power of God, then we need a window to see those who are dying just outside of our gates, hungry for just a little taste of the presences of God that we enjoy on a daily basis.

A picture, a mirror, and a window; which one do you need today?

I Call That Mercy

Once again, I was struck with the realization that what I call punishment God calls mercy. It has to do with the motivation of punishment. If you are a parent and you punish your child with the motivation being the child’s best interests, the child calls it punishment but you call it mercy. If your motivation is not the child’s best interests, the child calls it punishment and I call it abuse.

God does not abuse His children!

Photo by ZedZaP

Isaiah 57:14-21 gives us one of the most beautiful and poetic pictures of God’s mercy to the repentant and contrite of heart.

“I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.” (57:15)

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him…” (57:18)

I will “restore comforts to him and to his mourners.” (57:18) *What a great promise for those of you that are praying for a backslidden loved one.

These verses are beautiful and their promises overflow with the hope of anyone who has ever fallen and stood back up. God forgives! I was encouraged as I read these words today, but then my eyes fell on the final verses of the chapter.

“But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.” (57:20-21)

I read that and call it punishment, until I understand His motive. There is no peace for the wicked, no peace in this world outside of Him. The purpose of the punishment is to direct us back to Him. I call that mercy.