Read verses 5-7
Q: What was Gideon’s response when he came into a personal encounter with the Lord?
When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”
— Judges 6:22-23
Q: What was Job’s response when he came into a personal encounter with the Lord?
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
— Job 42:5-6
Q: What was Peter’s response when he came into a personal encounter with the Lord?
But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
— Luke 5:6
Q: What was the apostle John’s response when he came into a personal encounter with the Lord, even very late in his life and after many years of having already served Him?
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
— Revelation 1:17-18
Q: What does Isaiah’s encounter teach as but one of many examples of what happens when someone actually finds themselves in the presence of Christ?
A: He is instantly made aware not only of the sovereignty and holiness of Christ, but becomes acutely aware of his own sin and unworthiness preventing him from approaching the throne. In such encounters, one’s uncleanness and the need to be made clean becomes such a reality, that one clearly sees that without such it’s inevitable for death to follow.
Q: Why do you suppose Isaiah instantly focused on having “unclean lips” rather than an “unclean heart”?
A: It’s especially poignant for a prophet since communicating God’s Word is a prophet’s primary duty. However, it applies to all of us because, biblically speaking, the condition of the lips mirrors the condition of the heart. Isaiah’s confession is, in reality, about his heart as well.
“Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
— Matthew 15:17-20
Q: Isaiah recognized his sin and, therefore, his need. How does the coal from the altar possibly accomplish this?
A: The altar represents the fact that something needs to be sacrificed to make an atonement for our sin on our behalf. In this case, this is the heavenly altar representing the sacrifice Christ has made. The purifying fire of His sacrifice cleanses on our behalf. (Note: It’s interesting that when the Holy Spirit is given at Pentecost that it appears as “tongues as of fire” in Acts 2:3.)
Q: Was this the result of the Seraphim’s work? Of what might this teach concerning how ministry for God works?
A: This was NOT a work of the angelic being; even he could not pick up the coal from the altar but needed to handle it with the tongs. It speaks of how God sends messengers to accomplish His work and how they convey HIS power and authority and not their own.
Point: When Isaiah encountered Christ, it forced him to look inward and face the reality of his spiritual condition. When true believers have an experience with the Lord, it does not make them proud, but humble. They see the urgent need for spiritual cleansing.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
— 1 John 1:8-10