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! 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; 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.”
When we think about the encounter between God and Isaiah, our minds run to the end where Isaiah says, “Here I am. Send me”. Isaiah received an upward vision of God first, “ I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up”. Isaiah secondly received an inward vision of his unworthiness and sinfulness, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips”. When you spend time in God’s presence this is inevitable. For Isaiah, the upward vision of God led to the inward vision of himself. As you understand more clearly who God is, your own condition becomes more clear. These two led to the third, an outward vision of the world. God saw there were more like Isaiah. More in the same condition. God was looking for someone to go and share the same vision Isaiah received : God is holy. Man is sinful. God forgives. As a result of Isaiah understanding who called him, he dealt with his sinfulness. He could then go and be God’s messenger to the people.
This sequence is beneficial for us today. Before we can run out and share who God is, we must be changed by Him first. Often I think we want to say, “Here I am. Send me” without first saying “I am a man of unclean lips”.