It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. (Isaiah 6:1)
Uzziah was a good king. As far as godliness goes he wasn’t perfect, but he probably rounded out the top 5. He got proud and made mistakes, but his mistakes were far less dramatic than those of David. Not only was he a godly king but he was an effective one. He brought prosperity to Judah like no other king since the days of Solomon. He expanded the borders as large as the divided southern kingdom would ever get. His 50+ year reign brought stability and respect from neighboring kingdoms. He built up the walls of the border cities. Trained and equipped a large army. Built defensive weapons stationed at the walls. Other kings paid him tribute. Uzziah’s reign was a good one and a great time to be living in the kingdom of Judah. And then he died.
Isaiah was a young prophet at the time. He was still new at this calling and he hadn’t really found his feet under him yet. He would ultimately prophesy for 64 years spanning the reigns of four kings but this first one was likely a fallen hero of Isaiah’s. If Isaiah was anything like the young man I was, he likely looked to Uzziah as a role model of what a good, godly, successful older man could be and what Isaiah wanted to model himself afterwards. At least… until Uzziah was caught in sin and became a leper.
I’ve known the shattering effect of a fallen mentor. I’ve known multiple pastors, great men in my eyes, who have walked away from the ministry for moral failure. My favorite professor when I was in Bible College would later end up doing jail time. For attempted murder. That doesn’t make any of what she taught me any less true. It doesn’t negate the powerful impact on my life. It doesn’t make her wisdom in those classrooms any less wise. What it did do was help me to understand that ultimately my vision must be on God. He is the one who will never fail.
Isaiah had already been a prophet for a while, but it wasn’t until the year King Uzziah died that he truly received his calling and commission. It wasn’t until the king was gone that he saw the King of Kings. Are there things in my life, good things… even great things that are taking my vision off of God? Am I banking on my great church, my awesome role model, my loving and caring small group, that hero author, or someone or something else to do what God has called for me to do? Is there something in my life that needs to “die” so that I can truly, finally, see the Lord?