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. (Isaiah 6:1)
In September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, died at age 96. She wasn’t just the longest reigning monarch in British history. At 70 years, Elizabeth was the second-longest monarch in world history, second only to Louis XIV of France.
The death of any leader makes for uncertain times in a country. If they have been a good leader with a long reign, it may be cause for a lot of anxiety and fear for the future. Who will be next? What sort of a leader will they be? Will our enemies take advantage of the transition time to attack us?
Uzziah, (called Azariah in 2 Kings), was one of only eight out of twenty kings in Judah who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 18:3; 2 Chron. 26:4). During his fifty-two year reign, he experienced military success, expanded the territory of Judah, built a huge standing army, fortified the city walls of Jerusalem with siege towers, and even made advancements in horticulture, because he “loved the soil” (2 Chron. 26:10). Although his reign didn’t end well (he was struck with leprosy after attempting to burn incense in the temple), his death had to have shaken the people of Judah, especially with the Assyrians beginning to rise as a cruel world power.
Which is why I think it matters that Isaiah noted that he had his vision of the Lord in the temple “in the year king Uzziah died.” It matters that Isaiah went to the temple in the first place. When we are facing crisis and uncertainty, whether it is individually or as a nation, I hope that we always make a beeline for the house of the Lord.
But even more significant than the fact that Isaiah went to the temple is what Isaiah saw when he got there. Isaiah saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne.
What is the one thing most of us find impossible to do when we are in crisis? Sit still. Our hearts are racing, our breath is coming in shallow gasps, and we often feel like if we aren’t moving or doing something we will go insane. Maybe that was the state Isaiah was in when he went to the temple. Fretful. fearful. Pacing. Heart racing.
And he saw the Lord, sitting. Not pacing. Not biting His divine fingernails. Not pulling out His hair. Sitting. High and exalted.
Beloved, when your world is rocked, when there is a transition you are facing, in times of national crisis, take comfort in Isaiah’s vision. See the Lord. Sitting.
He’s got this. He’s got our nation. He’s got you. Breathe.