Isaiah 6. I preached a sermon on it once. It was a stirring sermon and the truths I spoke many years ago are lodged in my heart. I thought I had wrung the chapter thoroughly and extracted e very truth there was to find. That’s never the way things are with God’s word. There is always more treasure the Bible surrenders when you spend time soaking it up.
I remember Isaiah’s cry as he finds himself in the throne room of God.
“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.”
How had his unclean lips come about? What did that mean exactly? Some commentators would suggest that he made prolific use of swear words! I don’t think that. I think, perhaps, his unclean lips came about because he wasn’t giving God the glory He deserved. Maybe it wasn’t so much about what he said, but what he didn’t say.
Was it because he lived among the people of unclean lips that his own lips became unclean? In rubbing shoulders with the world, Isaiah had picked up their bad habits. He had lost his distinctiveness because he had allowed the world to seep into the cracks.
Or was it the other way around? Did the people acquire their unclean lips because of the unclean lips of Isaiah? When those who know God live as if they didn’t, it’s not surprising that the world around them never gets to know who God is.
I was telling some of the young people I know that I don’t really swear. I am aware than in my presence they keep a lid on swear words. They slip out under stress. But me – swearing is not something that I do. I could boast that I don’t have an unclean tongue.
But then if I think about whether what I say gives glory to God – I am not so sure. There is so much I could say about God, and I have the opportunity sometimes, and I use some of them, but often I keep quiet, and the world around me misses the opportunity to get to know something of God.
You know what? Isaiah didn’t stop at saying he was a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips. There is no hope for me in that. He goes on to say,
“and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
How many of us know about the unclean lips and stop there? Isaiah moved from one confession to a better one – “and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
What a confession!
My eyes have also seen the King, the Lord Almighty. Not quite the way Isaiah saw Him. One day I will see Him like that, but for now it is with my heart and my spirit that I see God. But make no mistake, I have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.