"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.'" (Isa. 6:1-3).
How a person sees God determines everything else he sees -- and anything else he does. It humbles the proud, encourages the faint, comforts the afflicted, and changes the sinner. It's the remedy for all our ills, and the scourge of all that's evil. Notice a few characteristics of God Isaiah sees:
First, God is alive and authoritative. It's no coincidence that Isaiah sees not only God's authority represented in a throne, but he sees it in relationship to a death. Uzziah is the highest human authority in the land -- the person who can take life, make wars, confiscate property -- and he's dead. God isn't. One King still sits on His throne; the other king lies in a grave. The contrast is more than a time referent of the vision.
Second, God is all-powerful and all-glorious. A throne that is "lofty and exalted" means other thrones or authorities exist to showcase their ultimate impotence. When all the dust settles from every decree made of men, only the decrees of God will stand. What he purposes, he accomplishes. "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose" (Isaiah 46:10). "He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand" (Daniel 4:35). A robe assumes majestic splendor -- and one that fills an entire temple means those who enter must worship.
Lastly, God is holy and revered. Seraphim, one of the highest of God's angelic creations, spend their eyes-covered existence thundering one theme -- how much God is not like us (holiness) and how much the earth is (glory). The response is one of displayed weakness in the surrounding and further concealment with smoke. (Adapted from John Piper, Isaiah 6).
Isaiah's response is prototypical -- we don't fit in. If angels who are sinless can't look on him, and Isaiah who uses his mouth to prophesy for God feels his lips are unclean, how much more the rest of us. But Isaiah's seeing prepares for his "saying" -- God takes the initiative in both. Until God is our vision we will never overcome the valley.