We are having a series of sermons in the book of Isaiah in our church. We had a guest speaker a few weeks ago and he preached on chapter 6:1-7 but the focus of his message was on verses 5-7:
‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’
Isaiah had seen the Lord in all his glory and majesty and this is his response: “I am ruined!” He understood his state as being unworthy and unclean. Isaiah was not comparing himself to other Christians but he compared himself to God. He knew he had fallen short.
This is the illustration the preacher used on the day which I thought was simple but very effective. It is a bit like seeing sheep on a field. If you drive by and see them there they look quite nice and clean and white. But if you drive by and there is snow on the field they look filthy and dirty. They are still the same sheep but with a different background. Isaiah was like a sheep standing in the snow. Against the glory of God his filth and dirtiness were completely exposed. He knew in his heart that he had seen the God Almighty and would surely die.
How many times do we feel that way when we are confronted with Who God is in all his glory and majesty? How many times do we search our hearts when we are before the throne of glory?
Now God, in his amazing grace, had a different plan. For Isaiah it was the live coal taken from the altar to cleanse him. For us it is Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for us so we could stand clean in the presence of the King. There is nothing we could have done to take away the unclean, undeserving heart. It is all God’s grace.
Isaiah’s response to this amazing act of grace and love from God, was to offer his life to serve Him. What is our response to Jesus being offered in our place, so we could be clean and pure before God?