Isaiah 6:1-8 (NIV)
Have you ever played hide and seek as a child or even with your kids?
Sometimes when we play hide and seek with God, we merely cover our eyes and think if we don’t see it then God doesn’t see it. I’m sure I thought that at some point in my life. Especially when I was young.
In our passage, we see it’s that time. Uzziah is dead. Uzziah began to reign when just 16 years old. He reigned for fifty-two years. He was popular, powerful, and the first cousin of Isaiah. When he dies it becomes a chaotic time and the northern kingdom is falling.
Our country has seen that kind of time. Remember 9/11? How about the year 2020 that brought with it COVID-19? It was that time in our lives. During those times, God wants us to keep our eyes on Him. When it’s not “that time” there are many things that block our vision of God. Like we feel secure in our job or our home. We might even feel security in our leaders. We feel God with us because we know Him, love Him, and trust Him. Yet, we’re not really depending on Him. Then “that time” happens.
Looking at our scripture this is where we find Isaiah. He’s at “that time.” King Uzziah has died and now Isaiah has seen the Lord. Some believed to see God was to die. Of course, Isaiah feels inadequate and worthless. He’s found himself in the presence of God. We see Isaiah in the temple and he’s in the innermost portion of the temple. This is known as the “Holy of Holies.” It housed the Ark of the Covenant. God’s earthly throne. If you were standing in the presence of God and His heavenly council what would be running through your mind? Fear?
Isaiah is fully aware that he’s been confronted by “the King, the Lord of hosts.” But he’s not afraid. He’s humbled. He knows God isn’t out to kill him. God wants to forgive Isaiah. And so He does.
God doesn’t issue Isaiah a divine command. He asks him a question. The funny thing about it is that God doesn’t even address the question to Isaiah. God speaks to the heavenly council, allowing Isaiah to overhear the conversation. God is asking the question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah can’t control himself and responds, “Here am I; send me!”
At the beginning of all of this, we see Isaiah hiding from God. He cries out, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” It just might beg the question, “Do people who curse seem more honest? Or do they seem more angry?” My daddy’s cousin cursed all the time. It was part of his everyday language. He thought nothing of it. It drove my mother crazy. She would purse her lips and give him that disgusted look like mothers give to an unruly child. I remember the first time I heard him use the Lord’s name in vain. I thought my mother just might slap his face. When he realized I’d heard it, he apologized and he never used it in front of me again. I’m pretty positive he used it in other situations. Now, here’s the crazy part. He was the nicest man you’d ever want to meet. We all loved him. He would give you the shirt off his back. His kindness to others and those in need was well known throughout his community. He worked hard throughout his life beginning as a truck driver and eventually owning his own fleet of trucks. He made tons of money but you’d never know it by his lifestyle. I miss him to this very day.
This is him and me at the airport in Charlotte, NC. I was about 6.
Even if we do have unclean lips can we really hide from God? Can God forgive our unclean lips and make them clean? I believe that it’s just better to be quiet than to use foul language.
Isaiah couldn’t hide. He realized there’s no hiding from God when he finds himself in the temple and gets a dose of the spirit of God. It so filled the temple the doors shook.
Do you know what it feels like to know you’ve done something wrong and to be caught? I’ve been there so many times especially when I was a kid. I stole a piece of candy from the local drugstore when I was about nine years old. I tried to shave my legs in the sink only to fall and bust my chin open needing stitches. At the age of sixteen, I attended the Little Woodstock in Georgia without permission. Got caught every single time. It was “that time” for me. Isaiah felt that in the temple.
How God reacts and how we react when we come clean. For Isaiah, he saw six-winged creatures that headed toward him and touched his tongue with a fiery pole. The good news is that when God forgives it’s done. Even if we still feel guilty.
Don’t get too comfortable. After that God isn’t done with us. He moves on and gets on with the mission. Just like I previously mentioned, God tells Isaiah who will I send and who will go for us? And Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me.”
When Isaiah left the temple he was no longer caught up in himself but moved toward the mission of God’s choosing.
What is your mission? What is your story of that time you got caught?
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!