Summary: We recently reintroduced a song which contained the lyrics "Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am". Most of the people in the church had no idea what they meant. Sadly, this is not unusual. Isaiah 6 was a great study of the coal from the altar of God!
Have you ever been driving somewhere and your mind is wandering and suddenly you realize, “How did I get here?” Are we ever like that in a worship service or when we go over our memory Scriptures or when we are singing in worship?
What a beautiful song, "Take me into the holy of holies"
Much that is found in the lyrics of Christian music is imagery from the Bible. Look at some that we’ve sung today:
“Sing to the King who is coming to reign”
“Glory to Jesus, the Lame who was slain”
“God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity”
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And the song that Heather sang today says:
(Give a brief explanation of some of the phrases in the song)
Take me past the outer courts - Into the holy place
Past the brazen altar - Lord I want to see Your face
Pass me by the crowds of people - The priests to sing Your praise
Lord, I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
And it's only found one place
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take the coal - Cleanse my lips - Here I am
Take the coal - Cleanse my lips?
Isn’t coal dirty?
Isn’t coal something you get in your Christmas stocking if you’ve been bad?
So, why on earth would we sing, “Take the coal, cleanse my lips?”
In order to find out we need to go back to the OT and look in
“In the year that King Uzziah (Azariah) died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple.
“Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
“And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“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.”
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
OK. So we see that in the presence of the LORD Almighty Isaiah was able to see his true spiritual condition. And we see that there is a big difference between coal and burning coals.
This verse, Isaiah 6:5 could very well be rendered;
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of defiled language, and I live among a people of defiled language, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Now this “defiled language” doesn’t mean that they were using poor grammar. It doesn’t mean necessarily that they were cursing.