Touched With A Lump Of Hot Coal
Read Isaiah Chapter 6
Isa 6:5 “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.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Many SSA men and women have a difficult time believing that God really has forgiven them. Those same people also have a hard time forgiving themselves. As we think about all the unholy acts and thoughts in our past, it is easy to languish in the obvious face of our unworthiness. Some men and women never get beyond those moments of shame and self-condemnation, living their entire lives in miserable self-deprecation. We must find some way to accept the love and forgiveness which our Savior has bestowed upon us. It is a major step toward enjoying our right-standing with God.
In these verses, Isaiah is confronted with his unworthiness. Now, when we think of Isaiah, we are not likely to envision someone who needed a lot of mercy and forgiveness. But as he personally considered who he was and his own sinfulness, he too recognized that he had no righteousness of his own. If Isaiah had that problem, what would make us believe that any of us could ever achieve enough righteousness in our own strength to feel comfortable approaching a Holy God? We, nor anyone else, will ever be able to live such an honorable life that we can stand before God in our own worthiness.
Therefore, there is no need for any of us to feel that we must somehow earn our right-standing with God. No Christian can do that, so we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be continually abasing ourselves before God. We must allow ourselves to come before Him humbly, but at the same time knowing confidently that He delights in accepting us into His presence. We come to Him not on our own merits, but on the merits of Jesus Christ, who has taken away all of our guilt.
In this passage, God assuaged Isaiah’s guilt in a very unusual way – He cleansed Isaiah’s lips with a live coal. I don’t know if it was literal or symbolic, but it doesn’t matter. God is very happy to cleanse all of us who recognize our unworthiness. Once we know that and believe it, there is no more need for any of us to continue wallowing in a pool of shame and disgrace. Just as Isaiah was relieved of his guilt, we too have been relieved of our guilt from the first moment of our confession. Each time we think about our unworthiness, we must follow that up with the comfort of knowing that we have been made worthy by Christ. The work is over and done. We have submitted our humble hearts to Him, and we are clean.
Jn 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
This passage confirms our thoughts for today. We are already “clean.” We were cleansed when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and His word as valid. But along the way, we need a little “foot washing” now and then. I’m pretty sure my feet haven’t been dry for very long in my life. We aren’t worthy, but that doesn’t matter – we are God’s children, and His love for us doesn’t change when we falter. Put that in your mental bank and lock it up for safe keeping.
Prayer: Lord, Your worthiness is all we need. Please help us to remember that. Remind us of this truth next time and every time we fall prey to wallowing in the sorrows of our sinfulness. We owe our all to You.