When God called Isaiah (#3)
|"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." |
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (Isaiah6:5-6)
What kind of person is Isaiah?
As he stands in the presence of a Holy God, Isaiah can think of only one word - and our English Translations struggle to render it. Some translations say "ruined" or "undone" or "lost". Eugene Peterson puts it "I'm as good as dead!". The original Hebrew says "I'm destroyed" - "I'm wiped out."
Isaiah knows that he cannot stand before the Holy Sovereign Creator of all and try to keep up pretences. He knows he is a sinner and it just takes the utterings of his lips to prove it.
But Isaiah is not only honest about himself, he is also honest about his people - they too have sinned and have nothing they can offer God.
This kind of honesty is not only refreshing, it is vital. Isaiah has conquered his greatest personal obstacle - the obstacle of pride. You see, the minute we think we have some scrap of righteousness to offer God, then God becomes our debtor. Isaiah has recognised that in the face of this righteous, majestic and magnificent God he has nothing to offer but his brokenness. And he offers his brokenness to God in confession and repentance.
I also love the fact that Isaiah doesn't distance himself from his people, he sees himself as part of them and when he confesses their sins he recognises his own complicity.
Who is Isaiah?
- Someone brave enough to see God so clearly that he knows without a shadow of a doubt that he (Isaiah) is not God and that he desperately needs the one true God - even if that means confessing his sin.
- Someone who has compassion enough to see the brokenness of his people and see himself as part of the problem. And it bothers him enough to bring it to God.
- Someone who is forgiven. This is not something that Isaiah achieves, but something that is done for him. He is the passive recipient. The coal comes from the altar of sacrifice and represents what Jesus would do for us. Isaiah simply receives beautiful magnificent forgiveness.
Are you like Isaiah?