Isaiah 6:1-8: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 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!” (NRSV)
Summary: Though we are always in the presence of God, we never get such a direct peek at the Almighty as Isaiah describes here. He witnesses a vision of God’s holiness; one that we can only try to image; finding himself standing inside the throne room of the Lord (possibility while he was at the earthly temple). Frightened and in awe, Isaiah cannot help but recognize his own impurity and imperfection before the pure the perfect King of the Universe. Specifically, the prophet mentions the unclean lips of himself, and of his people (v5).
Insight: It makes sense that the purity of a prophet’s words would be an important aspect to his ministry; but of all the sins that humanity has and can do, Isaiah speaks of his guilty for the things he and his people have said. We can speak some awful and wicked things to one another. Often times, we don’t even realize how much words can hurt. We speak flippantly, without thinking and in ignorance; yet like everything else about our lives, our speech should also reflect the holiness and goodness of God. We need to be speaking in truth and in love. This means our mouths need restrain and discipline just as much as the rest of our mind and body. And now, since Christ has purified his people, we may join that angelic chord which sings: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Child Catechism: In the presence of God, what did Isaiah recognize was wrong with him and his people? That they had misspoken, and were a people of unclean lips.
Discussion: What did Jesus say about careless words? (Matt. 12:36-37)
Father, cleanse our hearts and minds with your Spirit, so that what we say and do would be true and pure, in Jesus’ name. Amen.