From the Royal Robe to Swaddling Clothes
By Dean Honeycutt
It is 740 BC, Uzziah has reigned as King of Judah for fifty-two years. He is a successful king who brought security and prosperity to Judah. He started following the Lord but because of the success he has had and the popularity he has gained pride overtakes him. He becomes so arrogant that he goes into the Temple to burn incense which is restricted to only the priests the sons of Aaron. While in the Temple in disobedience God strikes him with leprosy. Uzziah is isolated in a home and dies a lonely man. Like Uzziah, it is easy if we are not careful to turn the blessings of God in our lives and take the credit for ourselves resulting in the sin of pride and arrogance.
It is during this time of anxiety and political unrest that God calls the prophet Isaiah to deliver God’s message of hope to a remnant of believers. “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.” (Isaiah 6:1) This is significant because Isaiah sees God’s Son clothed in a royal robe the King of kings and the Lord of lords sitting upon a throne seven hundred plus years before the birth of Christ. Jesus’ name Immanuel means God with us. Jesus will reign as King on earth just as Isaiah had seen and witnessed. This experience with Christ brought comfort to Isaiah and he in turn was to comfort God’s people.
In contrast to Uzziah’s pride in the presence of God almighty Isaiah humbles himself before the throne in repentance and acknowledges his sinfulness. Christ then purges Isaiah’s sin taking away his iniquity with a live coal from the altar of sacrifice touching Isaiah’s lips. This is a clear picture of the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. That we are purged and made clean with the precious blood of Christ.
I am fascinated that the Bible specifically records Isaiah’s calling and experience with God “in the year King Uzziah died.” The people of God needed hope. They needed assurance that God was with them, and He had not abandoned them. It is during this time of national insecurity that God asks, “who will go for us” and Isaiah responds, “here am I, send me.”
Are we willing to go for God? During our time of hopelessness and insecurity are we trusting the Lord and pointing people to the one who sits on the throne? Many people rely on man and man’s solutions to our problems and national unrest. I recently heard a liberal say in speaking of current conditions in America, “it seems that things are upside down.” What is wrong is now right, and what was once right is now wrong. We are “upside down”. We cannot see clearly because of our sins and our pride and the only hope for us is Jesus. Sin is an abomination to God and God will judge us for our pride and ungodliness.
But thank the Lord, God took on flesh and came to earth. Isaiah brought a message of hope to the “house of David.” Isaiah 7:13–14 “And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, And shall call his name Immanuel. “At a time when believers had given up on God, God makes a promise that His Son is coming to earth and will be born of the virgin Mary.
The “house of David” is the remnant of believers. All believers past, present, and future can trust God’s Word and God’s Son Jesus Christ. What Isaiah anticipated to come in God’s timing; we look back on the birth of Jesus the baby in the manger.
If we could just imagine a scene in heaven determined before the foundation of the world. God sees into eternity the plight and disease of a man wallowing in our sin and depravation. We have no hope and are doomed to despair and darkness. And God asks who will go for me and make a way for sinful man to be saved. And Jesus the Son says I will go send me. The father continues Son you will have to take on human flesh and die a sacrificial death; you will experience the pain and suffering of the flesh, and I will forsake you in your darkest hour. You will pay a sin debt and satisfy my wrath against sin. Royalty the King of kings and the Lord of lords comes to earth wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. God removes the royal robe in exchange for grave clothes. Thank God for Christmas.
Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com.
You can read more good Christian news from Dean HERE.