Isaiah 6:1-8 and John 2:24-25
In these passages, we distinguish who God is, Lord Almighty and Knower of men, and we perceive humans for what they are, doubters, instigators, and the called-out.
Notice, the two passages do not show a different Lord from one passage to the other. In both, He is holy and all-knowing. Yahweh, in Isaiah 6, is so magnificent even the seraphim could not gaze upon His face; they covered their faces with two wings and their feet with two wings. Faces show one’s countenance and feet are unclean because of where they have been. This is reflective of human beings. In one’s countenance can be seen their integrity or deviousness, their honor or shame. Before God, every created being is humbled because they are in the presence of the Creator, Holy Yahweh. In John’s passage, before these two verses, we glimpse the hearts of the Jews in the temple outraged at Jesus cleansing the temple, as if He had the authority and power to proclaim what is unlawful. They were indignant regarding His placing Himself so high in power, yet, we find Jesus knowing their hearts and He did not entrust Himself to them. In both passages, we see holy God, Creator and Son, as all- knowing and holy, holy enough to cleanse a temple and holy enough that seraphim automatically know to cover their faces, whereby they hide their inner thoughts, feet, and their external dirtiness.
What is different about these two passages? In Isaiah, the seraphim know, recognize, and relate to Yahweh as holy, Creator God. In John, the Jews did not know, recognize, nor relate to Jesus as God’s holy Son. Why is this significant? It is significant for what happens after. In the Isaiah 6 passage, Isaiah knows his unworthiness, uncleanness, and sin at once. Being in the presence of God, he recognized his sinfulness. The Jews, on the other hand, did not choose to observe or believe Jesus is the Son of God. They did not choose to recognize and proclaim their unworthiness even to be in God’s temple. The Jews even went so far as to insinuate Jesus did not understand His and their religion when they scoffed at His saying He would rebuild the temple in three days. These chosen people of Yahweh were arrogant and unclean and chose not to perceive or acknowledge their unworthiness to be in God’s temple.
Why is this important? Consider Isaiah. Isaiah was a Hebrew man. God called him. When in the presence of God, he recognized God as Yahweh and he recognized his sinfulness and unworthiness to be in God’s holy presence. Note Isaiah said, “Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (AMP). It is this that made him able to hear God’s call, “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” Isaiah did not do something to enable him to discern God’s call; it was who God is and what God had done that made Isaiah be able to hear His call. After those things, it was Isaiah’s recognition of his sinfulness and unworthiness that made him understand the calling of the Lord was for him.
Now, observe the Jewish men in the temple in John 2. They were Hebrew men. God called them to be in a relationship with Him as known by them from the Mosaic covenant. When in the presence of Jesus, they did not recognize Jesus as God’s Son, the Messiah. They also did not recognize their sinfulness or unworthiness to be in His presence or His temple. Notice what they said, “What sign can You show us, seeing You do these things? [What signs or miracles can You show us as evidence of Your authority, that You are commissioned to cleanse the temple?]” (John 2:18 AMP) Note they did not consider whether they were “clean enough” to be in God’s temple. They did not consider themselves sinners nor did they have open hearts for God’s telling them they were unclean. These Jews were unaware they should ask for God’s forgiveness because their hearts were closed. They were arrogant. Their arrogance and pride blinded them to their sins and deafened them to God’s Word through Jesus. They could not hear and comprehend when Jesus said he would rebuild the temple in three days, He proclaimed He is the awaited Messiah. They chose to remain closed to this reality because they chose not to recognize their sin and seek forgiveness.
It is our willingness to let God show us our sin, which makes us understand our need for forgiveness. It is asking and receiving forgiveness that allows us to be in God’s presence. Being able to take notice of God has nothing to do with the recipient and everything to do with God. God is the One who created us to be in a relationship with Him. God is the One who calls to us. God is the One who pricks our hearts when we are unclean and need to seek forgiveness so we can be in His presence. God is the One who speaks to us. Consider Isaiah; He recognized his unclean condition and was in awe in the presence of God and His majesty. Isaiah’s willingness to admit his uncleanness and unworthiness allowed him to discern God’s voice. The question today is can you perceive God’s voice? God is calling but you may not be able to take notice because you are unclean. Ask God to show to you your unconfessed sins and come clean before Him, then you will hear the voice of God calling to you, just as Isaiah did. Have you heard God’s voice lately?