“And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!'” (Isaiah 6:3-5 ESV)
Have you ever wondered what God looks like? When I was a kid, I pictured a kindly old man with a long beard, wearing robes, and maybe holding a shepherd crook or a staff. If you remember the Oh,God! movie series from the 70s, God looks a lot like George Burns. He resembled a loving grandparent who you could go to for advice and might buy you a toy if you were good.
But Isaiah paints a different view. In the previous verse, the seraphs are present before God with their eyes covered because they cannot look at the almighty God. Isaiah sees God and believes he shall immediately die. He knows from the Book of Exodus (33:20) that “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live”. He knows that the whole earth is full of God’s glory. God is the creator of mankind, the universe, of everything that is.
Do we forget this? Do we sometimes conjure up our own image of what we want God to be? He may indeed have some grandfatherly qualities. He does love us, and when we go to Him in prayer, he may provide us with guidance. But we should also remember that He was, is, and always will be the omnipotent, almighty, holy of holies. In light of our sin, how can we do anything but, like Isaiah imagined, tremble before God and die? Fortunately, we can face God. Jesus Christ was born, suffered, and died to pay the price for our sin. Through faith in our Savior, we are blameless and holy. We may appear before God and live – eternally.