By Ryan Shaw
Ryan is the international lead facilitator for Global Mission Mobilization Initiative (GMMI) and currently lives among the unreached.
Isaiah is then moved to true heart repentance for his waywardness. We are so prone to compromise, complacency and spiritual lethargy that we must regularly come to God with a heart of repentance, seeking His cleansing and His power to turn from that particular area of sin. A generation that wants to be used of God must be a broken generation. Not reliant upon ourselves any longer but only upon the Lord Himself to make us holy. Genuine awakenings always come on the heels of intensified repentance. To see a great turning to the Lord we must be willing to call God’s people to the standards of the Scripture and to take a stand for what God calls righteous. God cannot bless the work of unclean vessels. We may find a measure of success through human effort, but in the end it will be the wood, hay and stubble Paul tells us will burn up and not be counted before the Lord. We want to do it His way by laying down everything that God is opposed to and being faithful to call it what it is.
What was Isaiah’s failing? We are not specifically told other then we see a focus on his lips. When the angel cleansed him, he brought coal to his lips. The sin of the lips is one of the most common and yet least considered areas of filth. The areas of gossip, slander, speaking falsehood and exaggeration can become permissible sin. Yet, this is a huge area before the Lord. He is seeking to purge our lips, tongues and mouths from the horrid poison we so easily let flow.
Following his anguish of heart, Isaiah is cleansed and his sin purged. A live coal signified the penalty of sin being paid by a substitute offered in the sinner’s place. This was an assurance of personal forgiveness which we all have if we are born again. As we falter and fail Christ in our daily lives we come consistently again to this alter, receiving His forgiveness and empowering to overcome the next time. When we repent, such forgiveness is thorough. We don’t need to add to it by being hard on ourselves or putting ourselves through some kind of remedial discipline. It is forgiven!!!
The first two phases of Isaiah’s encounter now prepare for the third phase. Through having a right vision of the exalted glory of God restored to him, then seeing the holiness of Almighty God and being moved to repentance for his faltering and cleansed, he is now spiritually prepared to respond with a true, pure heart to God’s beautiful invitation of “who will go for us?” Isaiah’s inner life is made ready by the hand of God to be God’s mouthpiece. God is asking the same question of us today “Who will go for us?”