In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“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.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
– Isaiah 6:1-7
“When I come into the very presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense, but I suddenly realize and the focus of my attention is directed toward the concentration of sin in a particular area of my life. A person will easily say, “Oh yes, I know I am a sinner,” but when he comes into the presence of God he cannot get away with such a broad and indefinite statement. Our conviction is focused on our specific sin, and we realize, as Isaiah did, what we really are. This is always the sign that a person is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but a focusing on the concentration of sin in some specific, personal area of life. God begins by convicting us of the very thing to which His Spirit has directed our mind’s attention. If we will surrender, submitting to His conviction of that particular sin, He will lead us down to where He can reveal the vast underlying nature of sin. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously aware of His presence.
“This experience of our attention being directed to our concentration of personal sin is true in everyone’s life, from the greatest of saints to the worst of sinners. When a person first begins climbing the ladder of experience, he might say, “I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong,” but the Spirit of God will point out some definite and specific thing to him. The effect of Isaiah’s vision of the holiness of the Lord was the directing of his attention to the fact that he was “a man of unclean lips.” “He touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged’ ” (Isaiah 6:7). The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
What if your only sin that you ever committed was your insufferable arrogance? “Insufferable” to all but you. You are so arrogant that you cannot see it. People tell you that something is wrong with you. You go to the mirror to check. You see the normal you.
Kathy, of a time to share, commented about a song that touches on this topic. It was written and performed by Mac Davis, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when your perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day.”
We don’t have to have that problem, that bad, to have that problem some of the time.
But Chambers is talking about a different type of mirror. Have you ever seen your reflection in something shiny? Have you ever read the descriptions of heavenly encounters? There is a preponderance of gold, silver, and other shiny things in the description. When we see our reflection in the presence of God, we will be like Isaiah. “Woe is me!” For we will see the true us, not what we think of us.
It is said that Isaiah was of royal blood. He was the son of Amoz, thought to be the brother of King Uzziah. Isaiah probably lived his early life as did “Mac Davis” (assuming the song is autobiographical – but I hope he was joking).
Yet, in the presence of God, all that royal blood stuff is gone. It is just the holiness of God and poor, pitiful Isaiah.
That is the point where God reveals each of our individual sins. It will not be “You are a sinner.” It will be “You did this, this, and this.” Okay, if you are born-again, your sins are washed as white as snow, but before we see God in the next life, we will see our sins in this one, if for no other reason but to realize what we have been saved from. A lot of people lose that concept. We fall on the broad ‘sinner saved by the Grace of God’ line and forget the individual commissions and omissions in our daily lives. That stuff that we should repent from doing.
Once in our Sunday school class, many years ago, we were talking about our first time to see Jesus in heaven. Everyone in class agreed that they would drop to the ground in awe and humility before God in His Glory. But one guy said that he would not kneel before God. He would walk right up to Jesus and shake His hand. The class was dumbstruck. It took a while for the chorus of “I don’t think so” to start chattering around the room.
What evidence do we have of how would we respond? We have tales like this one in Isaiah, but Jesus calls Himself our brother. I still contend that Jesus will have to scrape me from the floor, but that is speaking through the mind of one who is still here, in this broken world, and still making mistakes. Yet, even the 24 elders in Revelation 4:10 fell to the ground and bowed before God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.