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There is a lot of death in this world. Witness the Malaysian Airlines event; the South Korean ferry; the Washington mudslide, shooters everywhere; and so on.
Death is a great teacher. The prophet Isaiah learned from the death of a mighty world leader. Consider the text:
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. 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. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. * * * * 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. (Isaiah 6:1-3, 5).
When death hits, it’s a learning time – it’s a seeing time!
Isaiah saw the Lord as he really is when there was a profound death on the scene. Isaiah was awe struck. He recognized the frailty and insignificance of all flesh and the power, might and majesty of Almighty God. He saw eternity. Down to his core, Isaiah learned the God of Eternity ruled in heaven and earth.
Isaiah realized all vain-glory, ambition, ignorance and pride are done away with by one view of Christ in his glory.
Isaiah saw the blessed attendants by whom Almighty God’s government is served – the holy angels called seraphim (which means “burners”) – that burn in love of God and zeal for his glory.
Anxious, foreboding thoughts naturally arise at the death of a strong and successful leader.
Uzziah had reigned over a half-century. His death came at a time of great peril for Israel. “In the year that King Uzziah died” is much more than a chronological date. It tells us not only the when but the why of Isaiah’s vision. The earthly king was laid in the grave and it was these circumstances that caused the prophet to see (that is to say, clearly understand and realize) that the real King was the Lord of hosts;
If the throne of Israel had not been empty at that critical time Isaiah would not have seen the throned God in the heavens;
The thought conveyed to the prophet by this vision was not just the general notion of God’s sovereign rule, but the special notion of His rule over and for, and His protection of, the orphan kingdom which had just lost its king. Did you hear what I just said? Often times a prominent death signals God’s special care for and love of his elect saints!
Death is a great teacher!