Summary: Isaiah was humbled when he found himself in the presence of God. The seraphim touched his lips with LIVE COAL, and the experience exposed him, purified him and prepared him.
Evangelist Herman E. Wesley III
Isaiah 6:1-8 (emphasis 6)
Prepared for Delivery at the Southwestern Christian College Annual Lectureship, Terrell, Texas
Wednesday Evening at 7:15, November 26, 2008
President Evans, Vice Presidents Maxwell, Howie and Foster, Supporting Administration and Staff, Board Members, students, fellow vineyard workers, brothers and sisters, friends and visitors. My spirit is humbled tonight to have been asked to speak on this forum, at this time. To deliver, what is termed on the program, an Inspirational Message. 28 years ago, on Wednesday night, on this platform, at this time, I was honored to represent this school as I spoke to the brotherhood for the first time. Now, 28 years later, I am in this same position again. I don’t need to tell you that as I appear, on this night, I appear much more bruised, tested and ready than I was 28 years ago. I have been “flavored by the fire.” Then, I spoke of the Lord. Now, I know the Lord. I am blessed to have my wife, Sonja, with me tonight as well. I don’t have a lot of fancy accolades for her. Suffice it to say she’s my best friend.
Would you meet me, please, in the book of Isaiah, chapter 6, and the runway verse for this short flight, in the New King James Version, will be number 1:
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: “ Woe is me, for I am undone! (Point One) Because 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.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “ Behold, this has touched your lips; (Point Two) Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “ Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Point Three)
I know our time is limited, so would you please just give me a few moments to address this thought from verse 6, where the Record reads:
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal...I want to speak about...
LIVE COAL. LIVE COAL.
Anyone reading Isaiah’s first two messages might be inclined to ask, "What right does this man have to pronounce judgment on the leaders of our land and the many worshipers in the temple?" The answer is in this chapter where we read Isaiah’s account of his call to ministry. Before he announced any "woes" on others, he first confessed his own sin and said, "Woe is me!" He saw the Holy One of Israel, the majesty of God, and he could not keep silent.
King Uzziah died in 740 B.C. and was one of Judah’s greatest leaders, even though in his latter years he was disciplined for disobeying God (2 Chron. 26:16-21). A great king may have left his throne on earth, but the greatest King was still seated on the throne of heaven. According to John 12:41, this was the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only here, in this passage, are the seraphim mentioned in Scripture. The Hebrew word means "to burn" and relates these creatures to the holiness of God. This is why they repeat the chorus, "Holy, holy, holy" before the throne of God. For young Isaiah, the outlook was bleak. His beloved King had died, his nation was in peril, and he could do very little about it. The outlook may have been bleak, (any of ya’ll been there before?) but the uplook was glorious! No matter how bad and dismal and discouraging things looked, God was still on the throne and reigning as the Sovereign of the universe! From heaven’s point of view, "the whole earth" was "full of His glory" (Isa. 6:3; see Num. 14:21-22; Ps. 72:18-19). When your world tumbles in, I have found that it’s good to look at things from heaven’s point of view!