2006-01-10 - Isaiah's Story
Isaiah 6:1-12 (NIV)
Isaiah's calling is a wonderful story. From just the first few verses, we get a sense of the awesome splendor of God in Heaven. It sounds like a great place. Isaiah was overwhelmed by what he saw. He must have just been all giddy with excitement, but he was also very afraid. Notice, in the first four verses, his elated description of Heaven's glory. But his demeanor changes to agony when God enters the scene. He realized he was unclean - impure, unrighteous, sinful - and that he was standing in the presence of the Holy God. He cries out in distress, and an angel comes towards him with a hot coal. Talk about adding insult to injury - Isaiah feels like he's in Hell's agony, but then he has to endure the brimstone coals, too.
But that's not the purpose of the glowing coal, as the angel states. In a simple act of putting the coal to his lips, Isaiah's sin and its guilt are removed from the picture. Just how can a hot coal atone for sin and remove guilt? I don't know, but it did. How can the blood of Jesus do the same thing? I don't know, but it did, and still does. The atoning gift wasn't something Isaiah could conceive to ask for, but he needed it. It was undeserved - but it was freely given.
Isaiah recognized his uncleanness and cried out to God. God made a way for Isaiah to be cleaned, and he received the gift. Then Isaiah was ready to serve God. God needed someone to act on his behalf. In gratitude, Isaiah exclaimed, "Here I am Lord. Send me!"
And what was it that God asked Isaiah to do? "Go and tell this people."
And how long did God tell Isaiah to give His message? "Until the cities and all their inhabitants are gone and until the land is utterly forsaken." Isaiah faithfully acted as God's messenger for many years and is one of the great Old Testament prophets. He pointed out the wicked ways of men, and predicted the coming of one man who would, like the coal, take away the guilt and sin of not just one person but the world.
You and I are Isaiahs. We too are unclean. We need our sin atoned for and its guilt removed. There's no angel with a hot coal, but there is a savior that will put the same fire in your heart that the angel put on Isaiah's lips. Then in gratitude, we can share God's message of repentance, redemption, and reconciliation with the world. And share it we must - until no one is left and until it is too late.
Come and see. Confess and receive. Go and tell.