A Change in Scenery

Bible Book: Isaiah  6
Subject: Cleansing; Confession; Calling of God; Isaiah; Trials; Peace

A Change In Scenery

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Isaiah 6

Everyone needs a change in scenery once in a while. We usually seek such a change by going on a vacation – getting away from the humdrum activities of life and enjoying pleasant, relaxing places. My wife and I love the mountains and lived and pastored in the North Carolina mountains for several years early in our ministry. I don't think there was a day that we lived there that it didn't feel like we were closer to God. The view of the great hills, often covered in clouds or fog was awesome, and the fall leaves took our breath away. We seldom felt the need to change the scenery while we lived there. But, life is often lived in the low places - the difficult paths of life, so we all of us yearn for a change in scenery - a change in circumstances for time to time.

Sometimes we obtain a change in scenery by altering the decorations that are normal to us. My wife loves to do this by moving furniture from one place to another in the house. When I come home at night, I’m always careful where I sit down in the dark – the chair I sat in yesterday may be on the other side of the room tonight.

Occasionally people change the scenery by a change in one's self. When I fully surrendered my life to Jesus Christ back in 1968 the entire world appeared different to me; nothing looked the same. The grass was greener, the sky was a more wonderful color blue and life seemed to have brightened all around me – as if I had been living in the dark for years. In fact, the world had not changed; I had changed – or better said, the Lord had changed me from the inside out.

When we come to Isaiah 6 today, we discover Isaiah experiencing a change of scenery, and it was one he desperately needed. Look at the situation before Isaiah had his heavenly vision of the Lord.

There were severe national problems in the Israel – Isaiah 3:1-4

There were domestic problems – 4:1

There were individual problems as well – Isaiah 5:14, 26.

And, yes, Isaiah had personal problems – Isaiah 6:1.

The problems we face in life can cause our world to turn an ugly color of gray. It seems that everything is negative, depressing, disheartening and dismal. That is where Isaiah found himself because the death of King Uzziah felt like final blow to his heart.

You need to know that God can change the scenery in your life, even when everything seems bleak, lonely and drab. Isaiah found that out in a personal, national and spiritual way when he got a true vision of God.

Note that Isaiah turned to God and that is when things changed in his life. Sure, Isaiah already knew the Lord but he was not living in the victory God had for him. He was being pulled down by circumstances in and around his life. Does that sound familiar to anyone here today? Life can become heavy and burdensome at times. We wonder if someone has turned out the lights, or at least dimmed them. Yet,a look at the Master – at our Lord – can change that, and that is what happened to Isaiah. It can happen to you today.

I. The Sight that Captivated Isaiah

Isaiah 6:1-4

An old Japanese proverb states, “Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once.” How true that is when it comes to our experience with the Lord. John Newton wrote the words, “I once was blind, but now I see.” He was speaking of seeing with the eyes of the heart. I believe that is the greatest need we have in regard to living in Christian victory.

Isaiah “...saw the Lord, high and lifted up.” It was this spiritual sight that brought him from despair to delight. It is when our circumstances are at there worst that we need most to see Him in all His glory.

A. The Position Isaiah Experienced

We don’t see the Lord by getting taller, we see Him by bowing lower. The more humble we are the greater our chance of having the light of His glory to appear to us. It is likely that Isaiah was thrown down on his knees by the death of King Uzziah. He loved the king and admired him greatly, and Isaiah felt the country was in good hands under that king. When Uzziah died Isaiah likely believed that without him the nation was doomed. When Uzziah died, Isaiah’s soul was tossed like a small boat in a hurricane. He fell before the Lord in prayer and unpretentiousness. That was when he saw the Lord!

Sadly it is true that one finds it difficult to depend totally on God when we have everything we need. When life is going our way we don’t seem to have the same sense of our dependence on Him. Yet, when the bottom falls out and everything nailed down seems come loose, we find ourselves gladly falling face down before Him. That is what happened to Isaiah.

B. The Praise Isaiah Experienced

Isaiah saw the glory given to God in heaven and heard the angelic praise for the Trinity – Holy, Holy, Holy. It is interesting that the holiness of God was lifted up three times. Was it not once for the Father, once for the Son and once for the Spirit? Though Isaiah may not have understood the Trinity, nonetheless he heard the praise for the Godhead.

I think it is important to note that heaven was not alarmed when Uzziah died because heaven is not dependent on a man or woman for the welfare of the Kingdom of God. Isaiah might have been wringing his hands when he heard of Uzziah’s death, but the Lord never wrings His hands in anguish or anxiety. Isaiah was made to see that heaven is not worried by the wild swings of earthly happenings.

Don’t get me wrong as I share what I am saying to you, for God is concerned about your troubles. He loves you and He is moved by your trials. He feels your infirmities, for the Bible clearly states, “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.” (Hebrews 4:15). He tells us to cast our cares upon Him, for he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). What I’m seeking to express to you is that no matter how things appear on earth, they are under control in heaven. The Lord’s throne is not under threat from an invader or a usurper. He is God today, was yesterday and will be tomorrow, and He has a plan for us in the most terrible of times. Isaiah was realizing that fully for the first time.

So, we see the sight that enthralled Isaiah, but also note …

II. The Sins that Convicted Isaiah

Isaiah 6:5-7

In the presence of the Lord, every spot of imperfection is revealed. Surely you have been in your house, not thinking of any uncleanness around you, when suddenly the sunlight came through a window and every speck of dust in the air and every blot of dirt anywhere in the room was suddenly revealed. My goodness, what a rude awakening that is! Quickly, you grab a dust cloth and start trying to remove the grime unveiled to your eye. Well, that is how it is when we bring our soul into the presence of God. Maybe that is why so few seek to come near to His presence.

A. Conviction

Isaiah experienced conviction for His sin. Like Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, Moses at the Burning Bush, or Peter who once said to Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man (Luke 5:8),” Isaiah saw Himself for what he really was. Conviction is a good thing, for it reveals the truth to us about ourselves.

B. Confession

“Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.”

Isaiah blurts out his confession without hesitation. That is when you know you are close to God – when you call your sin what God calls it. We are coming close to Him, when we can admit our need for forgiveness. In Isaiah, chapter 5, you can appreciate that Isaiah was seeing the sinful nature of the people in Israel. But, when you come to Isaiah 6, you see him looking at his own soul. We don’t have any trouble seeing the sins, weaknesses and failures or others, but we will never be right with God till we can see and admit our own needs before Him.

C. Cleansing

When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse (1 John 1:9). And, that is exactly what Isaiah experienced before God that day. He had a coal from the altar of God applied and was made pure. I thank God for the cleansing power of His forgiveness. That is why Jesus came and died on the cross – to take the fire of God’s judgment for my sin. Thus, the Lord provided a way for me to be made whole – to be made holy! What joy Isaiah must have felt in that moment - it was the same joy any soul can know, if only that soul is brought in honest confession and full faith before the Lord. He will not turn away such a person (John 6:37).

When our clothes are dirty, we wash them. When our dishes are caked with uneaten food, we cleanse them. When our cars are covered with grime from the road, we wash them. What can we do with our souls? Only One can cleanse the soul – only the Lord can do that.

Bring your mind to Him – He can set your mind right and cleanse it.

Bring your emotions to Him – He can calm your anger, lift your downcast feelings.

Bring your heart to Him – He along can make the heart pure.

Bring your soul to Him – He made you and He can re-make you!

Bring your tongue to Him – that is what Isaiah did – He can cleanse your words!

We have considered the sight that enthralled Isaiah, and the sins that appalled Isaiah, but now let’s reflect on …

III. The Spirit That Called Isaiah

Isaiah 6:8-13

A. The Call

God spoke to Isaiah through a spiritual vision, a heavenly peace and through a cleansing power. But, there was more to come. You see, God knows that you can never be all you are meant to be or accomplish all you were designed to accomplish unless you are in the center of His will. Isaiah needed to know that God was calling Him to a closer walk and a higher service. Surely there are many of us like that right here today. God is calling us to be, to know, and to do more than we think is possible in our lives. When we are willing to come honestly, with full confession before Him, depending totally by faith upon Him, He draws us to His highest calling. That is what happened to Isaiah.

B. The Commitment

Isaiah was so blessed by the cleansing he experienced and the sense of heaven that he saw through the eyes of his heart that he was ready to do anything God desired. He actually volunteered to serve. “Him am I, send me!” Wow!

I served in the Army years ago, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. One thing I heard from the first day in military service (from some guys who had been there before me) was don’t volunteer for anything! I think people have that some attitude in church. Often leaders are forced to beg for workers. Oh, what a joy when people are so committed to the Lord that they say, “Where can I serve?” That is what Isaiah did!

I think now of David, who volunteered to go out and face Goliath. While others cowered before the giant, David stood tall. While some said, “Goliath is to big to hit,” David said, “Goliath is too big to miss!”

I think of Nehemiah, who volunteered before God to lead the people out of bondage and back to Jerusalem. The path was long, the dangers everywhere, and the discouragers all around him but he was not dissuaded.

Thank God for volunteers. We need more of them. Only those who have been on their knees before a thrice-Holy God will take such a stand and offer such an open commitment to the Lord.

C. The Change

God placed Isaiah in divine service. From Isaiah comes the remarkable and astonishing book in the Bible that bears his name. Look only at the Messianic prophecies in chapters 7, 8, 9 and 53 and you can see how God used this man who simply but totally laid his entire life open to the service of the Lord.


Someone here today needs a change of scenery. We need a new look at the Lord, a look at that which will change our view of the world. We need to bring our lives before Him – bring your worries, your troubles, your sorrows, your fears, and most importantly your failures to God. Listen to His voice - He speaks through His Holy Spirit to each us. When we respond ...

He will cleanse us
He will calm us
He will call us to higher and nobler things