Giving Up

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Reading Isaiah 6:1-8
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah 6:5 (NIV)

I.   The overpowering Presence of God

     A.  Nowhere to go

           1.  He is on the throne

           2.  He is high and exalted (lifted up)

           3.  The train of his robe filled the temple.

     B.  Overwhelmed

           1.  Even the angels were covering themselves, but Isaiah has no wings!

                 a.  He was exposed to God’s glory and couldn’t escape it.

                 b.  Neither could he hide from God seeing him.

           2.  Overwhelmed means to be submerged, under water - Isaiah was drowning in God’s presence.

                 a.  The sights and sounds and smells where too much for his soul to handle all at once.

                 b.  His circuits were all overloading and there was no way to shut any of them off.

           3.  The angels - those burning seraphim were calling out to each other in booming voices:

           Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh Yahweh Tsabaoth

           Melo’ kal ha-‘arets kabodo

           Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty (of hosts)

           Full is the whole earth of his Glory

     C.  Everything is Shaken

           1.  As they sang the whole temple shook (the doorposts and thresholds are the critical stress points of the structure - if they are shaking the whole building is ready to collapse).

           2.  What can stand in the very presence of God and not tremble?

           3.  What can be in the presence of God and not be shaken to its foundations?

II.  The Ugly Truth revealed

     A.  I am a man of Unclean lips!

           1.  Hearing the perfect praise of the seraphim, Isaiah recognizes the pollution of his thoughts and words.

                 a.  He recognized the hypocrisy of using his tongue for both blessing and cursing.

                 b.  Maybe he recognized that he had failed to speak the Truth of God adequately to those who needed a word of encouragement or a word of reprimand.

           2.  He sums up his sin by referring to his corrupted communication abilities.

                 a.  What we choose to communicate and what we choose to withhold show our abilities to be loving with others and honest about ourselves.

     B.  Steeped in sin

           1.  Not only do I recognize that I have unclean lips, I also recognize that I’m so surrounded by uncleanness, I’ve gotten used to it.

           2.  The uncleanness of those around me seeps into me unaware.

           3.  It is normal throughout the Bible and in the experience of others who have written throughout the history of the Church, that an intimate encounter with God opens up our eyes to a deeper awareness of our own sinfulness and unworthiness.

     C.  I am Ruined!

           1.  Isaiah knows that he cannot survive this experience of God’s glory.

                 a.  He will surely be consumed

           2.  To come into God’s presence is to die.

                 a.  It is to die to the old self.

                       (1)      This is often a painful process.

                       (2)      It is also a joyful one.

           3.  We cannot come into God’s presence unless we are ready to die.

                 a.  All my greatest experiences of spiritual growth have happened when I have allowed something in me to die.

                 b.  Our greatest spiritual task is not so much hanging on to God, as letting go of our past.

                 c.  What do you have in your hand that you need to let fall?

III. A Purifying touch

     A.  A Cleansing fire

           1.  Isaiah is not left to simply dog-paddle in the currents of his own sinfulness.

                 a.  God sends a seraph to heal him.

                 b.  The seraph does it with a burning coal.

                       (1)      Coals were taken into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur - the day of atonement.

                 c.  The seraph touches Isaiah’s lips - the part he had said was unclean.

     B.  A Healing fire

           1.  The fire is a healing fire. Isaiah’s lips are cauterized by the fire of the atonement sacrifice.

           2.  The fire removes the guilt - the pollution, and restores Isaiah’s relationship with God (which is what atonement means: at-one-ment)

           3.  God does not leave it to us to swim against the raging tides of our sinfulness either.

                 a.  God comes to heal us.

                 b.  To empower us to let go.

                 c.  To pull us out of the currents

     C.  An Empowering fire

           1.  Isaiah so touched is ready for the mission God has for him.

           2.  When God calls us to our ministries he not only wants to equip us with what we need to do the tasks he calls us to, He wants to empower us to bring honor to His name when we do them.

           3.  People of God, it’s time to go to God, and plead for his forgiveness and his healing

The Bottom Line:

Let’s give up Pretending to be perfect and trying to Perfect ourselves and Pray for God’s healing touch.


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