The God who touches and sends (Isaiah 6:1-8)
We are now one month after Christmas, a day celebrating the incarnation of God – God who takes on flesh and walks amongst His creation, revealing Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. This is to me such an incredible thing that I can’t believe we do not celebrate Incarnation Day every day of the year! When I ponder the person of Jesus, I am astounded that the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, Jehovah God, Yahweh, took on flesh and visited planet Earth to redeem the lost by dying on a Roman cross for our sins. I have been slowly reading the book of Isaiah, pausing when something jumps out at me, meditating, looking up cross references, meditating some more. I am overwhelmed with the holiness of God; His majesty, power and glory on display in the book – His sovereignty over nations and people. Yet, I come to a passage like Isaiah 6 and see His intimacy with Isaiah, God’s chosen vessel and mouthpiece. The chapter opens with an incredible display of God Almighty on His throne, with two huge angels hovering over Him shouting so loudly that the doors of the temple were shaking, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty, the whole Earth is full of His glory”. What an incredible sight to behold! Isaiah seeing this, is in complete awe and wonder, and immediately feels the full weight of His sinfulness: “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.” In the presence of Holy God, when all Isaiah can feel is unworthiness, God sends His mediator to burn away his sin. The immense seraph flies down to Isaiah to remove his guilt and atone for his sin. No doubt, the angel was acting on the order of Mighty God, for angels are ministers of God sent to those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). Isaiah, who should have been burned up in the presence of Holy God, is instead, in a scene of incredible intimacy, forgiveness and grace, touched by God, forgiven, cleansed and sent as a servant of the Lord to do His work.
How many times do we read in the Gospels of the Incarnate God, even Jesus, forgiving sinful people and sending them as His ambassadors to declare the good news. The woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8), Peter after denying Jesus (John 21), doubting Thomas (John 20)…the list is long; the examples are many! This is the gospel of grace – that God would condescend into the life of an individual, remove their sin, and send them on mission, is the essence of what it means to be a Christian - It is my story and your story! Friends, I truly believe that every true salvation begins like that of Isaiah’s, with a revelation of the holiness of Almighty God and our own sinfulness. It is only when we realize how much we have offended God with our own sin and disobedience, that we can cry out for mercy, “woe is me” and ask to be cleansed and forgiven. Then God in His mercy touches us at the very core of our being, burns away the sin by the shed blood of His Son, and sends us out on mission in the power of His Spirit for His glory. Each one of us, I hope and pray, has been touched by the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God, made a new creation by the power of God’s regenerating work in our lives, and equipped with power from on high to go declare the good news of God’s saving grace. This is the gospel according to Isaiah. God is always ready and willing to touch us with forgiveness of sin, restore us and send us out. Let us not let sin stop us from serving God. We discover in the New Testament pages that His throne of grace is always open to receive us any time we have sinned, and we can receive mercy to carry on our mission (Heb. 4:16). God touches and He sends. This is the God we see in the person of Jesus in the Gospels. Let us be used by God to reveal Him to our world.
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