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Taking Our Pain

by | May 21, 2024 | Glory, Salvation

“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)

I love this story, because it’s one of those lovely moments where we get to see Jesus in the Old Testament. The apostle John makes that very clear in John 12:41, where he quotes part of the story and then says, “Isaiah said these things because he saw His [Jesus’] glory and spoke of Him.”

But the funny thing is, Isaiah doesn’t really describe Jesus Himself! He describes His robe, His temple, the angels that attend Him … everything but Jesus Himself. And really, that makes sense, because it’s kind of like looking at the sun: too glorious to look at straight, even though He gives light to the rest of the world.

And boy, does Isaiah feel it! Because that light is shining on him, too, and he can see every sin, every stain. And he can’t deal with it. “Woe is me!” he says. “I am lost! For I am a sinner, and my eyes have seen the King, God most high.”

But Jesus forgives him. He sends an angel with a hot coal from the altar to touch his lips and make him clean again. And now Isaiah can stand before the Lord, even in that amazing holy light.

But something’s missing. After all, the angel held a hot coal to his lips! That burns! Why isn’t Isaiah crying out in pain? Someone else must have taken the suffering. And of course we know who. Jesus Himself bore the pain that brings us forgiveness on the altar of the cross. He suffered willingly, because He loves us. And now that He has risen from the dead, we are clean and forgiven and ready to serve Him—doing whatever He sends us to do.

We Pray: Thank You, Lord, for taking my pain and giving me Your salvation. Use me to do what You want. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on May 21, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you think you would feel if you suddenly found yourself before the throne of God? Why?
2. Do you ever worry about what God might call you to do?
3. If so, how do you find reassurance on that subject? (Hint—think about Jesus’ character. What kind of person is He?)