Imagine: it’s a time of great national upheaval. The future of your nation has been cast into uncertainty. In the midst of all of that, God appears to you. How would you react?
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.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
I can scarcely imagine something like this happening to me. Isaiah is pretty freaked out too. Faced with the incredible greatness of God, right there in front of him, Isaiah becomes keenly aware of something:
And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Not only does he live in the midst of a sinful people, Isaiah himself is a sinner. He knows he’s not worthy to be in God’s presence. Normally, when a person comes face-to-face with God, it’s a death sentence. So what’s going to happen to Isaiah?
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”
Isaiah is right to be concerned about his sin. But God does something about it. He sends an angel, a seraph, to touch a burning coal to Isaiah’s lips, burning away the impurity that would have driven Isaiah from God’s presence. His guilt is gone. His sin is forgiven.
And now that Isaiah has been cleaned up, God has a question for him:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
What a question! But, knowing that his sins have been taken care of, Isaiah answers the only way he can:
And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
We are in the same position as Isaiah. Maybe we didn’t have a mind-melting vision of God upon His throne, but like Isaiah, we are people of unclean lips. And we don’t just live among them, we are them. We are the ones stained by sin.
But thanks be to God, He cleans us up! Only He didn’t use a burning coal in our case. Instead, He sent His Son to die and rise so we could be saved from our sins. He pours out His life for ours, sending our guilt packing and wiping out our sins.
So with that knowledge fresh in our minds, there’s really only one way we can respond:Click To Tweet