“Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’” (Isaiah 6:5, NASB95)
Today, we see Isaiah’s reaction to seeing God on His throne in the heavenly realm. “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” The Hebrew word for ruined means “destroyed”. The word picture would be the image one sees when viewing pictures of collapsed buildings after an earthquake. I got to see many of those types of buildings during my time in Haiti. There is no hope of repair. One must clear away the rubble and rebuild. Isaiah is saying that He feels like one of those buildings. He feels completely collapsed as a sinful human man standing in the presence of a holy and just God. Notice what he says next: “I am a man of unclean lips.” What he is saying is that he, like every human being, is guilty of speaking definitively about things he knows nothing about. Only in Heaven does everything ring true. In this world we think and we speak and we draw conclusions about God and the world we live in when we really don’t have a clue.
Isaiah is also left to think about the human condition. He and the rest of humanity have the same problem. He lives among a people of unclean lips. Mankind, created in the image of God, was created with the ability to communicate. God created the entire universe with His word and, because of sin, we use our gift of words to hurt and to harm. We use our gift of communication to curse the very God who gifted us to speak. The point of this whole devotion is for us to honestly reflect on our brokenness. We can’t be in God’s presence without feeling ruined (destroyed).
But God wouldn’t leave us that way. The angel of the Lord took a burning coal and touched Isaiah’s lips and declared him forgiven and clean. We, too, have been forgiven and made clean by the death of Jesus on the cross. On the cross, He bore everything about us that is broken so we can stand before God and not be “ruined.” What a great God we have! He understands our flaws and weaknesses and by His grace redeems and saves us from them all.
Today, let’s have a healthy awe and reverence before our Lord God. But at the same time, be assured that we can stand before Him today completely intact because of what Jesus has done for us.