Isaiah Moment

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Isaiah Moment

When my wife visited our daughter in Los Angeles, she had the opportunity to attend the taping of a Dr. Phil show episode. By God’s grace, she was seated unexpectedly beside his wife, Robin. After the thundering post-taping applause quieted, my wife was introduced to Dr. Phil. A bit nervous and breathless during her special moment, the first words from her lips seemed inadequate.

On a much grander and eternal scale, the prophet Isaiah experienced a moment when his first words were both haunting and puzzling, and expressed great consternation (Isaiah 6:5). While Heavenly beings praised God repeatedly for His holiness, Isaiah spoke of his own condition instead of praising God.

Brought into the presence of the Living I AM God, he could have said, “Blessed are You, blessed is the One who deserves all glory, honor, praise, and power. Blessed are these eyes which have seen the LORD Almighty on His throne, and the privilege to see those glorious beings that always behold the face of our Father and worship Him. Blessed also are my ears for having heard the angels praises.”

As a fallback position, Isaiah might have spoken, “Blessed am I, forever blessed, nothing henceforth shall trouble me, never again will I fear anything.” Instead, his first words expressed deep-seated fear. “Woe to me! 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.” (Isaiah 6:5).

Perhaps Isaiah was connected to the words of Manoah, father of Samson, who, after witnessing with his wife the angel of the LORD do an amazing thing, said, “We are doomed to die! We have seen God!” (Judges 13:19-22). Or, perhaps, Isaiah was overcome as Daniel was as he listened to the man in his vision. Daniel said, “How can I, your servant, talk with you, my LORD? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” (Daniel 10: 17).

Isaiah’s words, however, showed great wisdom, for the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). The prophet imputed to himself that which terrified him – “I am doomed if God deals with me in strict justice, for I have made myself a stench to Him with my sin, especially sin that has come from my mouth, which echoes the condition of my heart (Matthew 15:18-20, Ephesians 5:4). Perhaps Isaiah was troubled by some particularly rash words he had spoken, which now convicted him to death unless God showed him grace.

Isaiah may have reacted to God’s anger at his failure to denounce sin, a sin with which we all have too much cause to charge ourselves. His words could also be taken in a more general context, thinking, “I am a sinner who has offended the LORD in word, and who has not?” James 3:2 reminds us, “If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” None of us is a perfect man (Romans 3:10).

We should also remember Isaiah’s introduction to Heaven (Isaiah 4:1-4). The house was shaken – not just the door, but also the posts of the door, which were firmly fixed. This rattling of Heavenly perfection would certainly be sufficient to rattle the nerves of an anxious sinner. These items moved at the sound of the voice of Him who cried, moved at the voice of God, who called to judgment the sinners (Psalm 50:4).

This violent concussion of the temple was an indication of God’s wrath and displeasure against the people and their sins. How could one not be moved emotionally and spiritually by these messages? It seems Isaiah’s words were quite fitting for the occasion. We must also ask – Were those words put in Isaiah’s mouth by the Holy Spirit so they could be recorded in Scripture, which is God-breathed? (2 Timothy 3:16).

Isaiah had the opportunity to speak to God in His presence before he died. Few, likely none, of us will have that opportunity. However, we will all speak to God when we are judged after our deaths (Revelation 20:11-15). Therefore, I do not criticize Isaiah for his words because I fear my effort will be inadequate when I come before God. To his credit, his words came from the heart. The prophet Isaiah also may have reflected on the sin from his lips and reckoned, “I cannot praise him with these unclean lips; therefore, my words must address my sin.” Both praise and cursing should not come from the same mouth (James 3:10).

It is normal to have an Isaiah moment. Each of us is destined for such an occasion. With doorposts rattling, what words will you choose to address the Most High God, the King of Kings and LORD of LORDs? If a human, such as you, I, or my wife can become flustered in the presence of an Earthly celebrity, how much more awed, paralyzed, and tongue-tied will I be in the presence of Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, with His Heavenly fortress shaking like a leaf?

We must begin now, by restricting what words pass our lips. We should praise God while we are alive and sing His praises to all men. We are called to pray He would create in us a clean heart so are lips are no longer tempted to speak rashly. We should all contemplate, pray, and listen to the Spirit regarding God’s will for our speech.

You will have an Isaiah moment when you stand before God. Isaiah’s moment came without warning. Yours is foretold in Scripture, only the timing is uncertain. What will you do today and for the rest of you time on Earth to prepare for your moment before God?

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ


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