In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
I was seminary student years ago when a professor said something that startled me, surprised me, and I have been thinking about it ever since. “The whole earth is full of God’s glory”, he said. And it has been my delight ever since, to be thinking about and looking for the glory of God around me every day!
Of course, that wise statement did not originate with my professor but he was quoting today’s text from the prophet Isaiah. In a transcendent moment in the temple Isaiah experienced the awesomeness of God. He was granted a vision of the heavenly King in the divine throne room with the hosts of angels in rapt adoration. Above the Lord, Isaiah saw the shining seraphim transfixed in awe at the divine presence. They covered their eyes lest they see Him in His full glory. In ceaseless, never ending praise they call to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
This song of the seraphim is remarkable for many things, but especially for the fact that this is the only time in Scripture than an attribute of God is repeated three times. Yes God is holy, but so much more. He is holy, holy, holy. God’s holiness defines who He is. The Hebrew word for “holy” is qadosh, which means, “unique, distinct, set apart”. The three-fold repetition of “holy” is the strongest superlative in Hebrew. God is incomparably holy, holy, holy. There is no one like Him. Theologian R. C. Sproul writes: “God’s holiness is His divine perfection, that makes Him unique and separate from anyone or anything else.”
But this is what I find so remarkable — that God’s holiness, His “set apartness” fills the world. At the same moment that God is high above us and transcendent, He is also immanent all around and His glory fills our world. This means that the glory of God is to be encountered in mundane, normal, everyday life. He is now all around as “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
So our Lord Jesus challenges us to open our eyes and behold the wonders of God in our world. “Consider the birds of the air,” Jesus said, “and the lilies of the field” and behold the Father’s glory (Matthew 6:26, 28). See God’s glory in the sea crashing against the rocks, an answer to pray, a newborn child, or intricacies of the atom! His wonders never cease!
Poets have said much about having seen the glory of God all around. Gerard Manley Hopkins reports that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God”. And Elizabeth Barrett Browning tries to open closed eyes by telling us:
Earth crammed with heaven,
And every common bush aflame with God.
But only those who see take off their shoes.
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
Saints of God have also spoken of God’s glory filling our world. Jacob Bohme encouraged everyone: “Open your eyes and the whole world is full of God”. Ignatius of Loyal taught others “to see God in all things”. And poor monastery cook and cobbler, Brother Lawrence showed us how to “practice the presence of God” wherever we are. We might become like the patriarch Jacob, who in awakening from his dream saw the world anew: “Surely the LORD is in this place – and I did not know it!…How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:16-17).
A generation ago, my seminary professor set me off on what I now think of as the Daily God Hunt. Some people hunt for elk, some hunt for gold and other treasure. But I like to hunt for God every day. Perhaps you would like to join me.
Start you Daily God Hunt in the morning with a simple prayer telling God you are going to be looking for Him in your day. Then with your eyes wide open to His glory look for Him in any one or more of these following ways:
- An obvious answer to prayer
- God showing Himself in His creation (beautiful sunrise, colorful flowers, exquisite design of a leaf, etc.)
- God being present to you in another person
- God helping you to do His work in the world
- Any evidence of God’s love and care for you
- Add your God moments here…
At day’s end, take a few moments to reflect back on your day and note any God Sightings you had. Thank God for those God Sightings and His presence with you throughout the day. You can double your delight by sharing your God Sightings with another person; your God Sightings can be an encouragement to them as well as to you. The more we seek to be present to God throughout the day, the more we become aware of Him and experience His glory all around. “Surely the LORD is in this place.”
Grace and peace,
photo by Rita Smith