Isaiah 6:1 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. 2 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.
The Old Testament term “Seraphim” refers to angelic beings, particularly those nearest to the throne and highest ranking, in Christian tradition. Some early Christian writers studied the various ranks of angels and placed the Seraphim at the top, well ahead of better known angels like Michael and Gabriel. They were believed in ancient times to be the most devoted angels, full of zeal and a fire befitting their closeness to the throne. In early Christian tradition the light behind the seraphim was so bright that not even other angels could bear to look upon them.
It should be noted that each seraphim had six wings: two to cover the face, two to cover the feet, and two with which to fly. The wings to cover the face symbolize humility; the Seraphim refused to show their faces in the presence of God.
We live in proud age, one in which man is very prideful of his achievements, yet a proud look is one of the seven things God hates (Proverbs 6:17). By contrast, God calls His people to humility:
2Chronicles 7:14 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Many people struggle with past failures, but forgiveness is easy when you approach God with the right attitude. Isaiah 57:15 states:
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
God is very clear about His status in this verse: He is the high and lofty One, He inhabits eternity, His name is Holy, and He dwells in the “high and holy place.” Surely this is a marvelous place, a unique place, where God dwells; it is a place of very high and special standing. But notice who He dwells with: the one who has a contrite and humble spirit! That person dwells in that lofty place with God! When you approach God in humility and contrition you are living in a very special place.
Jesus told a story of two men in Luke 18:10-14:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Jesus uses a little sarcasm here: the Pharisee is praying with himself. He is not really talking to God; he’s telling himself how great he is.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.be exalted.
James 4:6 states:
6 …God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
“Grace” is favor; it means special consideration. We’re all familiar with the advantages of knowing someone on the inside. When you know the boss, it’s easier to get a job. When you know the police officer or someone on the force, it’s easier to get the ticket forgiven. Your standing gives you grace in the eyes of the benefactor. James, who knew Jesus personally, said God gives special consideration to the humble. They find forgiveness; they have His ear in time of need.
1Peter 5:5-6 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Let God break you today. Open yourself to be willing to do whatever He wants you to do in your life. That’s how you advance in His kingdom. Our culture promotes aggressiveness and confidence, and those who get ahead are often those who are the cockiest. Yet we find that all of the great men of the Bible were humble:
Num 12:3 3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
Moses hid his face when he saw the burning bush. He asked “who am I?” when God called him to lead Israel out of bondage.
Isaiah 6:5 5 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.
How could a man who wrote some of the most beautiful and lasting literature the world has ever seen call himself a “man of unclean lips?” Can you picture a Hollywood writer, or actor, or pop singer saying such a thing?
Jeremiah said, in 1:4-9:
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Note the attitude of John the Baptist:
John 3:26-31 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
Let’s not forget that John was a first cousin of Jesus; they had grown up together. Yet he did not let his closeness or familiarity breed contempt, nor did he get jealous of Jesus’ success, even at the expense of his own ministry.
If you need God to move in your life it needs to start with humility. You need to recognize that you need Him, that you don’t have the answers. You need His spirit. You must be willing to surrender yourself completely. Will you humble yourself before Him today?