A vision of Heaven.
A vision of yourself.
A vision of a mission.
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah saw the Lord in a face-to-face encounter that changed him forever.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
My human, weak brain cannot fathom such a sight.
So, next to this glorious, amazing, beautiful sight, he gets a vision of HIMSELF.
Verse 4: And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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!”
When we see ourselves in God’s mirror, really, truly, honestly see ourselves, we are horrified at what we see.
I am a woman of unclean lips.
But the next verses gives us all hope. Hope in a God that loves us, even in our sinful nature:
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah recognized the sin of himself, and God reached out and gave him atonement. Made a way possible for him to be forgiven for the wrongs he had done.
Now, let’s fast forward to now, what does this mean for us? How does this apply now? That was Isaiah, in the OLD Testament, not even the NEW! Does it still apply now? If we sin, do we still have a way of atonement?
OK, let’s take a look at sin for a second. Let’s unpack this “churchy” word and find the definition of it in a way normal people can understand.
sin (sn) n.
Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong.
intr.v. sinned, sin·ning, sins
1. To violate a religious or moral law.
2. To commit an offense or violation.
You see, we can not really understand that forgiveness is required unless we believe in sin. And many of us, look at sin simply, or with humor– cursing, calling someone a name– ridicule the notion of sin altogether. Sin is real. It is brokenness that can not be healed. It is damaging the reputation of your friend by saying things, out of jealousy, that are not true. It is passing by our neighbors in need because we do not want to pay attention to them. It is going along with evil – not speaking up, not protesting what we know to be wrong. It is committing acts of violence and disregard, directly or indirectly, against people whom we somehow consider less deserving or less precious than ourselves. It is taking for granted privileges that we have not earned. It is despising the poor and rationalizing the suffering of the weak. It is making fun of others to protect ourselves. Such actions are not simple impoliteness. Rather, they reveal the deep brokenness of life, in which we are all involved. And many of us are blind to it. Not knowing pain, because we are deceived or oblivious or willfully stupid, how then can we seek forgiveness?
Today, as they did in the Old Testament, we know that we can approach God, in all of His power and majesty, sitting on His throne, for forgiveness- not as a psychological trick or a careless indifference. Forgiveness is very costly. It can not be done casually, as if the offense does not matter. It’s admitting that what we did was WRONG. Our hearts are affected by it in real pain and remorse. It’s saying to God that we regret what we’ve done.
And only God can forgive sin.
After Isaiah’s revelation of God, and of his own sinful nature, then he received his mission.
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Only after we see the glory of God, realize how hopeless we are without Him, and gain that forgiveness of our sins, will He reveal to us our mission. When we are broken before God in complete honesty, we are given the opportunity to be remade, rebuilt, remodeled in His image. And in that perfect mirror, we see the reflection of God.
And so will everyone else.