Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips. – Isaiah 6:5
I have often wondered exactly why Isaiah reacted this way in the presence of God. It seems that when a man or woman gets into the Presence of God that there is an acute awareness of sin. Moreover, there is an awareness of specific sin. My first encounter with the Lord was quite similar. I was a liar. I was keenly aware of that fact in the Presence of God, so I repented, not just of sin in general, but specific sin that had to go. That was young adult Adam in the late 90’s. Of course he was an idiot, but this is the prophet Isaiah we are talking about. What was he saying that made him unclean?
I was reading Isaiah this morning and knocked out the first 8 chapters. Until today, I’ve never seen Isaiah’s chapter 6 encounter in its context. If you read it for yourself, I think you’ll see what I see. Before Isaiah’s encounter with the Almighty, his friend, King Uzziah dies, and another takes the throne. It is a time of uncertainty, and the political climate is polarized. There is a minority on one side saying “we have forsaken God and must return,” and another side saying, “We can live however we want . . . God will not judge us.”
I’m guessing that Isaiah joined in the attack of people who had taken sides. I’m thinking that Isaiah might have been one of those people who had to be right all the time in conversation and assert his superior knowledge. If someone said, “We must return to God,” then he would say, “Too late, we have refused Him too long and judgment is coming!” If someone mockingly said, “Ignore the ‘God’s going to judge us’ crowd,” then he promptly put them in their place as well. If he lived in today’s world, he might have been the king of Facebook calling out political parties, and posting articles that showed dissenting opinions precisely why they were wrong. And, if the truth were known, he probably would have been correct in all of his assessments.
But, something about the way Isaiah communicated with others made him feel extremely unclean in God’s Presence. Until today, I conjectured that he must have said foul words or something. But, more than likely, he was simply convicted of the way that he did not speak to his fellow man in love. In the presence of God, he realized just how careless he was with His words. An angel came with a hot coal and touched his lips and purified them. He was then free to NOT speak as he pleased, but only as God would have him speak.
Would to God that we all learn from this one.