Isaiah the prophet goes through a life-transforming experience in his vision (Isa 6). He moves from "Woe is me" to "Here I am, send me!". Something significant happened that prepared him for his purpose - to be sent by God. He didn't go on a training course. He didn't study. He didn't spend years preparing. Yet, there was a process that he went through that we can learn from.
First, he had a revelation of God's holiness. Holy means set apart, sacred, and unique. It is the blazing radiation of God’s glory, the creative force behind the whole universe. Holiness is God's desire to have everything made good and right. Everything about God that makes him God is holy: his hatred of sin, his positive purity. Flying Seraphim (burning serpents indicate that God's presence is special and that God is the King and is served by other spiritual beings. An earthquake takes place, a sign of the greatness of God, as the temple is filled with smoke. Terrifying!
This revelation of God's holiness leads Isaiah to recognize his sinfulness, and he admits he is a man of unclean lips, from a people of unclean lips - in other words, there is no way he should be so close to the holiness of God because it is so good.
Recognizing his sinfulness prepares him to receive God's grace. One of the seraphim – sent by God himself – does something about Isaiah’s distress. The seraphim take a coal from the altar, the place where sacrifices for sin were offered, and touches Isaiah's lips. - the very thing about which he felt so ashamed.
Usually, if you touch something impure, it transfers its impurity to you. Yet, here, his very holy and pure object— touches Isaiah. And it transfers purity to him. He is not terminated by God’s holiness; he’s transformed by it.
When God asks, "Who shall we send?" Isaiah responds "Here I am, send me!". Why? He has been through the process that prepares him for his purpose.
- A revelation (awe) of the holiness of God
- A recognition of his sinfulness
- A reception of the grace of God that transforms him from unclean to holy, forgiven, and ready.
Jesus finished work on the cross is the sacrifice by which sinful man can be made holy, and ready to answer the call of God. When you have a true revelation of who God is and recognize how broken you are, you are in the perfect place to receive the grace of God and be transformed by it, removing sin and shame, and making you righteous - none of it your own doing.
Whom shall we send? Here I am God, send me.
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