May 17, 2004
Don't Miss It!
"'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, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD
Almighty.'" (Isaiah 6:5).
Very few people have ever had the kind of spiritual
experience that the prophet Isaiah had. In the sixth
chapter of the book that bears his name, he recounts
how he saw a dramatic heavenly vision. It was so real,
he doesn't call it a vision or a dream. He simply says
that he saw God on his throne worshipped by flying
If you can't relate to this, please don't stop
reading. Your personal life experience may be more
like this than you think.
I don't know if you are someone who has a relationship
with God at all. Maybe you do. I know that people
relate to God in different ways. I don't know what
Isaiah was like before this experience. I don't know
what he would have expected.
If you saw God, how do you think you would feel and
react? Do you think you would be awestruck? Scared?
I get the impression that some people believe that if
they would ever experience pure, true worship, they
would be completely caught up in a celestial
But when you worship God, you encounter him. Most of
what we call worship is our attempt to touch heaven.
Some do it through prayers, others through idols and
other symbols, some through songs, some through
nature. However it's done, it is only a human attempt
at reaching out to God.
Isaiah, on the other hand, encountered the real thing.
With no effort of his own he was drawn into the throne
room of God. He had the privilege of witnessing how
worship is done in heaven.
But instead of running to join the heavenly creatures
and joining in their song, instead of becoming
completely transfixed on the sight before him, instead
of focusing on the Maker of the Universe, he became
very aware of himself: "...I am a man of unclean lips,
and I live among a people of unclean lips."
Encountering this level of purity and truth resulted
in his seeing himself and his people as they really
As we read the rest of the chapter, we see how this
response resulted in his own preparation for his God-
given mission. The personal devastation that he felt
was exactly what was needed for him to be all that God
intended him to be.
You may think that you have never had an experience
like this, but maybe you have! The nearer God comes to
us, the more we become aware of our impurity and our
sins. Perhaps God has sought to reveal himself to you,
but you weren't willing to deal with those things in
It seems to me that when we seek God, the first person
we meet along the way is ourselves. We try to talk to
God, when he prefers to talk to us about ourselves.
When we worship, we may find ourselves plagued by
mundane thoughts. All of sudden we think about the
argument we had with our spouse, or how we yelled at
our children, or how we cheated someone in business.
Those thoughts may not be distractions. They may
actually be the voice of God. But we spend so much
time fighting him, we never truly encounter him as we
could. That's why we never get to the place of purity
and usefulness that Isaiah did.
God may be speaking to you right now.