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“Holy, Holy, Holy!” Isaiah 6:1-8 June 2, 2013
(Click here to print the Word document for this week’s lesson: Holy, Holy, Holy Sunday School Lesson or use the print button below. Stay tuned for class projects, coloring and more after the lesson. Enjoy!)
I love how this new quarter is starting off. We are opening up this new series of by taking the focus off of us in complete adoration of Him. If truth be told, when was the last time God became our sole and complete focus? Do we just get through our times of prayer and devotions, or do we really get in tuned to His majesty?
Isaiah, in today’s lesson, had to get focused on God real quick. When one is whisked away in a vision to the position of standing before the Almighty you know that play time is over. It’s time for sober seriousness in the presence of God. And if you didn’t know how to worship God before, I guarantee once you stand before He that is enthroned in the heavenlies, you will learn how to praise! Once you stand for the sinless, you will quickly begin to understand your own sinfulness.
Isaiah 6 takes us to a place that only a few have been privileged to view in visions. A place where we hope to reside one day. Looking at heaven through the eyes of Isaiah prepares us for the extreme holiness of God. It let us know that we are a people of unclean lips also and we better be prepared to live in that blessed place. A place where holiness supersedes everything, where we can learn to cry out with the seraphims, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”
Isaiah 6:1 “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.”
“I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne.” I have loved the vision of God sitting on a throne for some time now. When I pray, I imagine myself coming before a King, bowing before His presence and humbling lifting my eyes to Him in supplication and petition. Because of our lack of a monarchy here in the States we don’t really appreciate what it is to come before royalty in utter humility. But there, in the his vision, Isaiah sees God on a throne where we would expect Him to be. Reigning in all sovereignty and power as the ultimate King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.
A “throne” is a place of rulership, which in turn is a place of judgment. Israel had been long divided as a nation at this point in history. The ten kingdoms to the north were referred to as Israel while the two kingdoms to the south were Judah. God’s people were divided from each other but they were also divided from God. The people had drawn away from God through sin and rebellion (See Isaiah 1:2-4). God was now “sitting” in the seat of judgment. Proverbs 20:8 tells us, “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes,” (KJV).
“High and lifted up.” Where else would He be? God is exalted above all! Psalm 108:5 rejoices and says, “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth,” (KJV). God is above! Not Beneath! There are many kingdoms established upon this earth but God supersedes all! He is “lifted up!” Every rule of man must bow to the ultimate King. “The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted,” (Psalm 47:9, KJV). God’s dominion outranks every other power imaginable!
“His train filled the temple.” Many of us are familiar with the idea of “train” on a bridal gown. When she walks into the room and precedes down the aisle everyone focuses on the floor to see how long the train is. The long, flowing fabric embellished with love moves down behind her giving her a royal appearance. God didn’t need the appearance of royal, He is King. His “train,” the hem of His holy garment, marked His majestic stance above all else. It “filled the temple.” Can you imagine seeing God on His throne in heaven with heavenly hosts gathered all around and His flowing garment encompassing and enveloping everything with His glory? Amazing!
Isaiah 6:2 “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.”
“Above it stood the seraphims.” As I studied this I found out that this is the only place in the Bible where the word seraphim appears. This is a unique opportunity that God has given to Isaiah. For those whom God draws near to Himself and are willing to be a vessel for His use, will experience unique opportunities that are not privileged to everyone else.
“Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.” These seraphim dwelt with God in heaven yet felt a need to “cover” themselves. Here is tells us twice of them being “covered.” First, with the “face” and then with the “feet.” Why the need to feel covered? They know their unworthiness before this Judge who sits on the throne. Residing in heaven with Him, they don’t know of His majesty, they know He is majestic. His holiness transcends all others therefore, they “cover” themselves. How brash is mankind in thinking that he can approach God in any form or fashion? When the residences of heaven bow and cover, what more should we do when in his presence?
Isaiah 6:3 “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”
“And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” This time if year is wonderful in that I can keep my windows open and experience nature. One of the things I get to experience is the birds calling and communicating to one another. They are sounding off their beautiful sonnets in hopes of attracting a mate or just relaying and revealing stuff in their own bird language. The seraphim’s message to one another, and for us to witness through Isaiah’s vision, is that the holiness of God is like no other. We cannot, with a human perspective, imagine how far and beyond us His holiness is. Here “one cried unto another . . . Holy, holy, holy.” Anytime Jesus wanted to teach a truth with great emphasis He would use the phrase “Verily, verily.” Saying it twice really brought the attention in to the point He was making. Here, twice was not enough when professing the holiness of God. They announced it three times. That means we cannot comprehend it, we just better be ready to stand before it.
“The whole earth is full of his glory.” Everything on the earth gives God the full glory in the way they were created except for man. When the trees sway in the wind they glorify God because they are fulfilling their design. When the squirrel gathers nuts it does so at the command of God over its life. All of creation speaks of the glory of God. We may not hear it audibly but we can see it all around us.
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1, KJV). Everything is under God’s ownership, therefore, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD,” (Psalm 150:6, KJV). Jesus, on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem said, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out,” (Luke 19:40, KJV). Why? Because “the whole earth is full of his glory!” The magnificence of God can be seen throughout all His creation and if we don’t sing with the seraphim, “Holy, holy, holy,” then the rocks will cry out in our place!
Isaiah 6:4 “And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”
“The posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried.” A voice so thunderous. A voice so powerful, so awe-strikingly moving to be heard that is caused the door posts in heaven to shake. And this is just speaking of the seraphim. No wonder when the children of Israel gathered around Mt. Sinai they were afraid to hear the voice of God speaking to them. “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die,” (Exodus 20:19, KJV). To be in God’s awesome, holy presence is nothing to be played with. When we enter into the place where true holiness resides we enter in with the humility that His tabernacle deserves.
“And the house was filled with smoke.” There is no mistaking when God is in the building or inhabiting the mountain. Back to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai it says, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off,” (Exodus 20:18, KJV). What is our response at the true presence of God in our lives? How do we act when we approach His glory? The children of Israel “stood afar off” and in our next verse Isaiah was moved with his own unworthiness, what of our own humility before Him who sits on the throne?
Isaiah 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
“Then said I.” What follows is a personal testimony of a man faced with his own sinfulness. This is his personal statement of what happened in his own heart when he stood before the presence of the Almighty. This was his response before the Creator of all the heaven and all the earth. Think about it, what will you say before Him who knows all and sees all, yet called you before His throne?
“Woe is me!” Can you sense the agony of sin standing before the Sinless? It’s as if someone pulled back a curtain to reveal all the evils in human nature and the sight of his own role in humanity made Isaiah say, “Woe!” When was the last time we woed at our own incompleteness without Him? Even the most best behaved person on the face of this earth would have to “woe” before the Almighty. This is all about Him and our complete unworthiness to be before Him. But thank God for where Christ has placed us now:
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore COME BOLDLY UNTO THE THRONE OF GRACE, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16, KJV, All Capital Emphasis Mine).
“For I am undone.” This reminds me of the testimony of some who, in a life-changing moment, saw their life flash before their eyes. This is what Isaiah was experiences. Every sin, every wrong, and every transgress comes to the forefront when there’s nothing to hide behind anymore. Standing before the Revealer of all he declared “I am undone.” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23, KJV). Standing in His glory one soon realizes just how “short” from being worthy he truly is.
“Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Jesus, in condemning the scribes and Pharisees said it best. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man,” (Mt. 15:18, KJV). Using the uncleanness of his own lips and those of people in general, he could see that his life was not ready to stand before the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. The uncleanness of the lips is synonymous with the uncleanness of the heart. Continuing in Matthew Jesus further said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man . . .,” (15:19-20a, KJV). But Jesus started off His chastisement saying, “Out of the mouth come forth from the heart.” What is our conversation saying of our hearts? Do we really understand how “unclean” we are?
“For mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” It only takes a moment to see the miraculous to change your life forever. Many people desire to see God or an angel on this side of glory as some sort of sign. They don’t know what they ask for. Every time I read of one of the instances in the Bible when man came face to face with one of God’s angels and he fell down before him in fear, I know that would be my response also. How much more before the King? The majority of us will never experience the sight of Him until we get to heaven “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” (2 Cor. 5:7, KJV). OH! But if we did, I’m sure it would have the same impact on us as it did on Isaiah “For mine eyes have seen the king, the LORD of hosts.”
Isaiah 6:6-7 “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquities is taken away, and thy sin purged.”
Using the set of wings that was not for covering himself in humility, one of the “flew” into action. The seraphim performed the action of getting and placing the “live coal” on Isaiah’s lips but he was not responsible for the purging of the sin. We know that in the Bible altars were places of sacrifice. Upon the altars were sin offerings, burnt offerings, peace offerings, heave offerings, wave offerings and such. So we can only assume that the altar where the “live coal” was is symbolic for removing of sins also since this is what the seraphim used it for. The point of these verses is not the “altar” rather the change in man after being touched by that which was on the “altar.”
If there is true confession. If there is true repentance. If there is true salvation, then that life will never be the same again. Having “iniquities . . . taken away” lightens the load of humanness and lets us focus more on the divine. “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV). This new stance before God leads to a new outlook on life. His will becomes our will. His work becomes our work as we see in the next verse.
Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
What a conclusion! After all that has transpired the Lord speaks up. Wings flew, voices thundered and sins were purged but now He speaks. Not directly to Isaiah but He speaks to be heard by Isaiah. How many times have God spoken to us but His pleas have gone unheeded? “Well, I’ve never heard Him speak to me!” God usually doesn’t speak audibly as He did in the ancient days, but He still speaks. One of the easiest ways to find out what God has to say on a matter is to read His Word. Nothing in the Bible has changed since it was written and His Word is as reliable and infallible as always. For more ways to hear from God today check out this article on Crosswalk.com.
The question of the “Lord” was “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” “Whom” is there that is prepared his heart and mind to follow the will of God and go is the real question? One cannot go unless they had first prepared. I imagine that’s why we don’t hear the Lord speak until after the sins were purged. Sin does more than defile you before the Lord it also hinders any work that He wants to do in you and through you. Now that Isaiah is prepared the Lord wants to know will he go?
To be willing to “go” means to allow oneself to commissioned to service. When my son’s commanding officer tells him to “go” he must fully obey the orders given or suffer the consequences. Here, the “Lord” was asking is there one who allows Him to commission himself to His service. Romans 12:1 teaches us to “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service,” (KJV). After witnessing everything he did in the throne room of heaven Isaiah had no problem responding with a resounding, “Here I am; send me.” He didn’t know what his life would look like after that but he was ready to “go.”
What about us? After seeing the glories of heaven and hearing of all the sights and sounds that Isaiah witnessed are we ready to respond as Isaiah did? Is it not our “reasonable service” to want to be used by the Lord? Isaiah answered the call of God on his life and he was never the same. We are today still talking and teaching of the prophecies he spoke because he said, “Here I am; send me.” What will God do through you? After witnessing the “Holy, holy, holy” how will we respond?
Wordsearch: HOLY HOLY HOLY WORDSEARCH Answers: HOLY HOLY HOLY WORDSEARCH ANSWERS
Crossword: HOLY HOLY HOLY CROSSWORD Answers: HOLY HOLY HOLY CROSSWORD ANSWERS
Vs.3 – Holy Holy Holy:
One activity your students can make is to put together this fan. Simply print out the PDF on cardstock and the let the students decorate it with a scene from the lesson in heaven. Attack a large craft stick with glue or tape. Enjoy! PDF: Fan template (Make sure your printer settings are not on “shrink to printable area” because it may come out too small. Rather, have it set on “fit to printable area” to come out bigger.
Another activity that can be done is this “Holy Holy Holy” Glitter sheet. Use the sheet as is to color or do as I did. I colored and cut out the words and glued them on blue construction paper (sky). Then, using a white crayon you can make clouds. Finally, since it is a holy place where these words are being uttered, I used gold glitter to bring out the words “Holy, Holy, Holy!” Enjoy! PDF: Holy coloring sheet
Another activity that can be done is to make this Holy Holy Holy Puzzle. Simple print out the PDF on cardstock and let the children decorate with a scene from heaven. Cut it out and enjoy! PDF: Holy holy holy puzzle
Vs. 4 – The door posts shook at the voice:
Vs. 5 – Unlcean lips:
This activity can be a great reminder for students of the unclean lips in the lesson (which represent sin). I used brown and black to color the lips to signify dirt. An idea to use would to be to gather actual dirt and allow the children to rub it on or glue it on to the lips. Enjoy! PDF: Unclean lips
Vs. 8 – Whom shall I send?:
The call of God on Isaiah’s life was also a main point in this lesson. This megaphone activity allow students to remember how God called Isaiah into action. Simply use the coloring sheet from Edupics.com and this verse cut out Whom shall I send Verse Cut Out to create. Enjoy!
Other Activities and Resouces:
“Sin Revealed” from Kidssundayschool.com (Great object lesson to go with being “undone” and “unclean lips” because it shows how our sin can’t hide before God).
“Sanctified Lips” from Calvarycurriculum.com
“Isaiah” Lesson and Activities from Missionarlington.org
“Seraphim” from Sundayschoollessons.com
“Isaiah Powerpoint” from Bibleforchildren.org
“Isaiah Coloring Book” from Bibleforchildren.org
“Throw Away Your Sins Game” from Kidssundayschool.com
“Don’t Stain Your Reputation Bulletin Board” from Kidssundayschool.com
“Megaphone Paper Cup Craft” from Meaningfulmama.com (This craft can be adjusted to the call of Isaiah in verse 8)
“Isaiah Coloring Sheet” from Coloringpages7.com
- Sunday School Lesson “The Hope of His Coming” 2 Peter 3:3-15a (wordforlifesays.com)
- Sunday School Lesson “Equipped for Godliness” 2 Peter 1:3-14, May 12, 2013 (wordforlifesays.com)
- Sunday School Lesson “Living With Hope” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11 (wordforlifesays.com)