“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!’ 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!‘ 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.‘ And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:1-8 ESV)
Isaiah must have soon known this experience was going to be a life-changer for him. The Lord is high on a throne; His robe is filling the temple. Above Him are seraphim—fantastic, heavenly beings with six wings. Calling out to each other, the seraphim proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
At this spectacle Isaiah could do nothing but utter, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips!” Agreeing with Isaiah’s confession, one of the seraphim flew to him, bearing a burning coal which the seraphim touched to his mouth. This action sealed Isaiah for service to God by taking away his guilt and atoning for his sin. Now he was ready for what God had in store.
“Whom shall I send?” the Lord asks the stunned Isaiah. What was left to do and say but to declare, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah knew the shambles that Jerusalem was in. Its inhabitants were sinning on all fronts; they had it all backwards. Bleak days were ahead: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, … for they have rejected the Law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:20a, 24b ESV).
Into this chaos, Isaiah says, “Send me.” There was redemption work among this people to do. The promised announced by the prophet a little later (see Isaiah 7:14) came true in the birth of Jesus, our Immanuel, our “God with us.” Of Christ, the apostle Paul said, “For In Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” and by His life, death, and resurrection, God has “forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:9, 13b-14 ESV).
It is Jesus whom Isaiah pointed to—the One who was, and is, and will be forevermore—our Savior.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking through Isaiah about Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Do you have any favorite renditions of angelic beings from painting or sculpture?
2. In your experience, was there a specific time when you sensed your guilt was taken away and your sin atoned for?
3. How has God called you into His kingdom?