The king whom he loved and believed in is dead. God had sent him to preach to a hardhearted people and no one cared to listen. The fact is Isaiah was having a bad day, but he went to the temple to pray. As he prayed, the windows of heaven opened up and God revealed Himself to Isaiah as He had never done before.
This encounter becomes a “divine moment” for Isaiah as God is seen in His holiness, the essence of His nature and the supreme revelation of holiness. It is then that Isaiah realizes he is anything but holy. Isaiah could never approach God again without recalling just how awesome God is in His holiness. As he stood before holy God, for the first time Isaiah saw himself as a man of unclean lips.
It is interesting how Isaiah described himself as a man of unclean lips, not as a man with an impure heart. Isaiah speaks only of the manifestation of a deeper issue from within him – an impure heart. Psalm 15 reveals that unclean lips are the result of an impure heart and in a moment of undisputable realization Isaiah acknowledged his condition: “Woe is me!” The Revised Standard Version translates Isaiah’s response as “I am lost.” The word translated ‘lost’ means to be cut off, cut down, or destroyed.Isaiah saw himself as exposed, naked, helpless, and hopeless before God. Could it be that Isaiah was entreating God to place a barrier of protection between them? In desperation Isaiah must have been thinking, “I can’t stand in Your Presence. I’m a goner. I am beyond myself. I have nothing within me that can make this right with You. There’s no power, there’s no purpose, there’s no promise that I can make to You that will ever make this right. I can never stand in Your presence. I can never be Your equal. I am beyond myself.”
With that, Isaiah was completely at the mercy of God and in His mercy, God touched Isaiah’s unclean lips, removing his wickedness, and atoning for his sin, “He touched my mouth with it and said: Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed and your sin is atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7). Isaiah is a new creation in the mercy of God. As such Isaiah was able to worship God with faithful obedience. The once-broken prophet of unclean lips is now ready to take on the purpose of God, “Here am I. Send me.” Transformed in the power of God’s cleansing, Isaiah was now prepared for the purpose of God, a life of surrendered worship.
Biblical worship is a response to the transforming presence of God in one’s life. Biblical worship is a response to God’s invitation to meet Him where He is in His purpose.
Biblical worship is the product of a personal encounter with God that directs an individual to the Christ-event of atonement leading to an eternal engagement with God that faithfully expresses gratitude for the work that God is doing on their behalf.
Chuck Groover is pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.