Born again – Part 7
5So I said: “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 my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand live coal, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” (Isaiah 6:5-7)
6:1ff Isaiah’ lofty view of God in 6:1-4 gives us a sense of God’s greatness, mystery, and power. Isaiah’s example of recognising his sinfulness before God encourages us to confess our sin. His picture of forgiveness reminds us that we also are forgiven. When we recognise how great our God is, how sinful we are, and the extent of God’s forgiveness, we receive power to do His work. How does your concept of the greatness of God measure up to Isaiah’s?
6:1-3 The throne, the attending seraphim or angels, and the threefold holy all stressed God’s holiness. Seraphs were a type of angels, whose names are derived from the word for burn, perhaps indicating their purity as God’s ministers. In a time when moral and spiritual decay had peaked, it was important for Isaiah to see God in His holiness, which means morally perfect, pure, and set apart from all sin. We also need to discover God’s holiness. Our daily frustrations, society’s pressures, and our shortcomings reduce and narrow our view of God. We need the Bible’s view of God as high and lifted up to empower us to deal with our problems and concerns. God’s moral perfection, properly seen, will purify us from sin, cleanse our minds from our problems, and enable us to worship and serve.
6:5-8 Seeing the Lord and listening to the praise of the angels, Isaiah realised that he was unclean before God, with no hope of measuring up to God’s standard of holiness. When Isaiah’s lips were touched with a live burning coal, however, he was told that his sins were forgiven. It wasn’t the coal that cleansed him, but God. In response, Isaiah submitted himself entirely to God’s service. No matter how difficult his task would be, he said, “Here am I! Send me!” The painful cleansing process was necessary before Isaiah could fulfill the task to which God was calling him. Before we accept God’s call to speak for Him to those around us, we must be cleansed as Isaiah was, confessing our sins and submitting to God’s control. Letting God purify us may be painful, but we must be purified so that we can truly represent God, Who is pure and holy.
I saw the Lord (v.1). This vision gave Isaiah a proper understanding of his message and call. It revealed one of this book’s major concerns, namely, that God’s glory, majesty, and holiness demand that those who serve Him also become holy. Today, Churches similarly need a vision of God as holy in their midst, the King and Judge, the Lord of hosts (vv. 3,5).
The recognition of the need for His sanctifying work in our lives will inevitably accompany such a vision. The result could well be similar to that of Isaiah—earnest confession, glorious cleansing, and powerful commissioning by God in regard to His will and call (vv. 5-8; cf. Rev 1:13-17).
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