“Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 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.” (Isaiah 6:2-7, NIV).
Isaiah had it right! He realized that the Lord was so holy, so pure, and so lovely that he could not stand before the Lord. Isaiah was aware of his sinfulness, but more than this he become a great deal more aware of just how holy was God. The Lord cannot have that which is polluted, that which is sin-stained in his presence because he is above all things, holy. We often think of God, and rightly so, saying he is “love.” But much more than this, God is holy. Nowhere in the Scripture does it say, “Love, love, love is the Lord God Almighty.” But Scripture does teach us saying, “Holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” Above his grace, above his mercy, above his patience and his love, God is holy. And holiness is in complete contradistinction to sin. One has nothing to do with the other. Sin and holiness cannot be in the same place at the same time.
Isaiah realizing this declares that he is about to be ruined. “Woe to me!” he said. The “woe” means to be undone. It is the idea of all the stitches coming out of my teddy-bear and then to have all the stuffing come out just after the button eyes pop off. Isaiah, being a man (like the rest of us) having sin in his life realized the sin within him condemned him to destruction, to becoming undone before the Lord of hosts. But the Holy Lord in his magnificent providence provided salvation for Isaiah by having the angelic being touch Isaiah’s mouth with the live coal from the altar and he was made clean. His guilt and sin were taken away allowing him to remain, not only before the Throne of God, but draw breath once again and for the remainder of his life.
The same is true of you and me. We cannot be in the presence of the Lord with our sin-stained lives. The issue is not so much about us, our sin or our lives. The deeper issue here has to do with who God is, and God is above all things, holy. It is somewhat like the morning dew giving way to the noonday sun. The dew has no hope of remaining in the presence of the intense heat and light of the sun. In a similar manner, sin has no chance of remaining in the intense beauty and light of our Lord; it will be burned away due to the characteristics of our Lord. To expect less would to be as if our noonday sun should no longer shine for us because the quality of shining should be forever lost.
And yet, God has a desire for us, and we have a desire for God! What must be done? But a sacrifice from heaven, the Son of God, offered up on a cross to take away the sin of the world. Thus John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, RV). And for those of us who have had our sins washed away by the blood of Christ, we can stand with Isaiah before the Lord and live because we have been made holy by the Lord’s sacrifice.
How do you stand today before the Lord?
Standing with Jesus,