“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…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 6:1,5
“In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God…Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads…And above the expanse over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness all around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” Ezekiel 1:1,22,26-28
When we see the glory of the Lord, we come away changed. It is in the light of His brilliant glory, the splendor of His majesty and the radiance of His holiness, that we see ourselves for what we are. We see our sin. We see the evil within us. We recognize how lost, how hopeless we are without Christ. We are at once confronted with the truth of our human nature. Reading through the account of Isaiah seeing the throne room of God, immediately crying out “Woe is me!”; and Ezekiel falling on His face at the sight of this glory that he can’t fully put into words, impresses on me that this is the true result of our seeing God’s glory.
We are filled with wonder at His beauty. We are flooded with thanksgiving and praise at His grace. But let us not stop there. I wonder if at times we stop at the surface of who God is. We only want the merest of glimpses, the aspects that are easy for us to take, so that we won’t have to face ourselves. So that we won’t really have to change.
But if we will seek our Lord with all of our heart, casting out fear in the face of His pure, steadfast love, we will not only see His glory as He personally reveals it to us. We will be transformed into His likeness. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We will be brought from one degree of glory to another. Because this is what God’s glory does. It transforms. It impacts all who see it. It’s not just a beautiful sight that we appreciate and then go on with our lives. It changes us to the core. It shows us how desperately we need a Savior, how vastly unworthy we are, and then God sweeps in with the truth of Christ to give us hope in light of our depravity. “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for’” (Isaiah 6:6-7).
If we try to prevent ourselves from beholding the glory of the Lord—if we avoid the deeper, more difficult aspects of His truth—we are cheating ourselves out of knowing what His glory can do within us. We give up hope. We give up even knowing what hope truly is. We give up the joy and peace found in a relationship with Christ. We give up seeing His glory revealed in us. So let’s not stop at the surface. Let us choose to dive into the ocean of God’s grace, wholeheartedly seeking His face and asking Him to show us His glory. We’ll be asking Him to transform us to the deepest crevices of our heart. And when He does, it will take our breath away.