Isaiah 6  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
What a remarkable personal experience Isaiah records in chapter 6 of his prophecy! It illustrates in a striking manner the ways of God in applying the gospel to the hearts of men in all ages. As the messenger of Jehovah, Isaiah had already pronounced terrible woes upon the people because of their iniquities. Now, seeing himself unclean, he is constrained to cry, "Woe is ME."
It happened thus: poor leprous Uzziah had just died, and the prophet doubtless felt that the unclean king presented a painfully correct picture of the moral condition of the nation at large. At such a juncture he saw in a vision the Lord sitting upon His throne in the temple, with seraphim reverently veiled in His presence, and crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts." The sight was overwhelming and the very foundations trembled at the sound. The effect upon Isaiah was instantaneous. Such a sense of the holiness of God, and the majesty of His throne was borne in upon his soul that he could only cry: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,... for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
This is the effect that the presence of God produces upon the minds of lost men in all ages. Job exclaimed, "Behold, I am vile." Peter cried, "I am a sinful man, O Lord." He to whom God is only a name or an idea, can have no conception of what this means. Light alone can show up filth, and eyesight is needed ere deformity can be seen. Here men are frequently blind and painfully wanting in discernment.
The discovery of one's own evil is distressing. The terrors of hell take hold of the soul forthwith, and plunge it into trouble and sorrow. But this furnishes God with the opportunity of expressing the tenderness of His grace. Accordingly, one of the seraphim flew to the prophet Isaiah with a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. As he laid it upon his lips, he said: "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."
The altar was the place of sacrifice, typical thus of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was therefore the efficacy of the atoning sacrifice that was so graciously applied to the distressed Isaiah. This alone can remove iniquity, and render the soul happy and free in the presence of its Creator and God.
Little wonder that the man thus happily purged forthwith offered himself for the service of Jehovah, when presently he heard the call: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah eagerly replied: "Here am I; send me." He who ventures to speak to men on God's behalf, not having first tasted His pardoning grace, is a blind leader of the blind, hastening with all who heed him to the inevitable ditch.