In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isa 6:1-5)
If that passage doesn't make you shiver, you have missed its point. Isaiah felt that reverential awe we should all feel about God. Contrast his words with the casual approach we take to God these days. I imagine the old story about the young man who walked up front to pray on behalf of the congregation and began his prayer with, "Hi Dad!" is apocryphal. Or maybe it isn't. But it doesn't take much time to look and listen to see that attitude everywhere in our culture, maybe in our assemblies as well in many other ways.
Here's sometime else to think about. Look at the next few verses in Isaiah. Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people…’ (Isa 6:6-9)
Isaiah's sin had to be atoned for before he could speak God's word to others. It only makes sense. If you are the vessel that God's word comes from, you had better be holy, just as God is. Now how about me? How about you? If my life speaks of sin, I am not fit to proclaim his word. If my words are not pure, I have no business using my mouth as His. When I hear a man talk about "his Lord and Savior" and then spout filth or take that same Lord's name in vain, I know he needs a hot coal pressed on those foul lips of his.
Be careful what you say this morning—and what you do, especially if you plan to talk to people about the Most Holy God.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. (1Pet 1:14-17)