I’m not sure, but I think this is the first real glimpse of heaven that we ever see in the Bible. (I suppose Job gives us a glimpse too, but we haven’t gotten there yet).
But here is Isaiah, caught up in a vision of heaven. And he says,
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. (1-4)
Just an interesting side note. When Isaiah says that he saw the Lord, the apostle John makes it very clear that it was actually Jesus that he saw. (John 12:39-41). So if you ever talk to someone, say a Jehovah’s Witness, who doesn’t believe that Jesus is God, point out these two passages.
Anyway, Isaiah, was completely overwhelmed at the sight of the glorified Christ. And he probably fell to his knees as he said,
“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.” (5)
So often, people have the idea that should they stand before God someday and have to give an account for their lives, they would be able to defend themselves relatively eloquently, and be able to convince God of the strength of their case.
But the truth is, when we stand before God and see his holiness, all of us will be rendered speechless. Because at that point in time, we will realize just how holy God is, and how unholy we are. And all the words we planned to say will be revealed for the empty arguments that they are.
If we can speak at all, I think we’d only be able to say what Isaiah said. “Woe to me! I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips!”
But as Isaiah stood (or knelt) there trembling, God sent one of the angels, and touched his lips with a live coal, saying,
See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. (7)
In other words, “Yes you are impure. Yes you are sinful. But I have made you clean. Not by your own works. But by mine.”
Then Isaiah heard God say,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (8)
And when Isaiah heard this, I imagine he trembled in fear and wonder,
“Here I am. Send me!” (8)
In fear because he was an unholy man in the presence of a holy God. In wonder that God would forgive his sins and make him holy. In wonder that despite all of his sins and failures, that God would still actually want to use him.
But as God called Isaiah, he also calls us.
We stand before God as a people who are unholy, sinful, and deserving of judgment. But with one touch, by the blood of Jesus, God cleanses us and makes us holy. And then he says, “I need someone to send to the people in Japan. In America. To every tribe and nation in this world. I need someone who can go and touch the lives of your family. Your neighbors. Your friends. Who will go for us?”
The question is, will we be like Isaiah, and say, “Here I am. Send me.”
You may feel unworthy to be used by God. Isaiah did. But know that when you’ve been touched by Jesus, you have been made worthy. All your sins are forgiven. And God can and will use you. All you have to do is say yes to Jesus.
Lord, like Isaiah, I feel so unworthy to be used by you. You know the sins that are in my heart. I am a man of unclean lips living among a people that are also unclean. I’m not worthy. But Lord, I believe that through the cross, you have made me clean. You have made me worthy. So Lord, I just want to say as Isaiah did, “Here I am, send me.” Use me for your glory. Use me to spread your message to the people around me. Use me to touch the lives around me. May my life be forever yours. Use me as you will. In Jesus name, amen.