In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “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 seraphs 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.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Red lights are fine. Blue lights are nice. But when they are together and flashing in your rearview mirror, your heart races and your mind reacts, “Woe is me! I am ruined! Speeding ticket…points on my record…increase in insurance…” When face to face with one who could punish, fear takes over.
Isaiah’s reaction was no different when confronted, not with a speeding ticket, but a vision of the Lord, seated on his throne with his robe filling the temple. Three times the word “Holy” resonates in the vision. Smoke filled the room. Isaiah’s first reaction when faced with the power and holiness of the Almighty God was the exclamation, “Woe to me! I am ruined!”
While we haven’t been confronted with a personal vision of the Almighty, one day we too will “meet our Maker.” Fear takes over. He is holy. We are not. He can punish. We are at his mercy.
What do you think Isaiah felt as the burning coal was brought to his lips? Was it punishment? His ruin? He soon experienced the unexpected. With the coal the Lord purified Isaiah. He did not punish him as his sins deserved. Isaiah was told, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
This is the great reality of the LORD Almighty. He has every right to punish us for our sin, but his love brings not the coal of judgment, but the coal of purification. Because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, he assures us “your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” What relief! What joy! Like the joy and relief if the officer did the unexpected when he came to your car window and said, “While I clocked you fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, I will pay your fine. Your record is clear.”
No wonder Isaiah then answered the Lord’s call, “Here am I. Send me!” May our response to God’s unexpected grace be the same! “Send me! I will live for you!”
Lord God Almighty, purify my heart and life with your grace and mercy. Use me today to spread your glory and grace to others I know. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.