It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1-8)
The year that King Uzziah died was approximately 740 b.c. Seeing the Lord and listening to the praise of the angels, Isaiah realized that he was unclean before God, with no hope of measuring up to God’s standard of holiness. When Isaiah’s lips were touched with a burning coal, however, he was told that his sins were forgiven. It wasn’t the coal that cleansed him, but God. In response Isaiah submitted himself entirely to God’s service. No matter how difficult his task would be, he said, “Here I am. Send me.” The painful cleansing process was necessary before Isaiah could fulfill the task to which God was calling him. Likewise, before we accept God’s call to speak for him to those around us, we must be cleansed.
The more clearly Isaiah saw God (6:5), the more aware Isaiah became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. But he was willing to be God’s spokesman. When God calls, will you say, “Here I am. Send me” as Isaiah did?