Anglican Morning Devotion for 27 December 2021 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:5-8; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Isaiah was called by the Lord to be a major prophetic to His people, but Isaiah was unworthy of the calling and he knew it. So did the Lord know that Isaiah was not worthy when He chose and called him. It is true of every Christian – none are worthy, but God will always make us able to fulfill whatever role He calls us to undertake.
Isaiah was a man whose daily speech seems to have been careless and sometimes vulgar – just like all the company of his associates in Israel: “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Do we erroneously suppose that God waited His call to Isaiah until Isaiah became worthy? He did not! God called Isaiah at the time in which Isaiah was not at all worthy. God issues those calls from among the unworthy, I believe, to demonstrate His great glory and power to MAKE worthy.
God did not randomly call Isaiah, but knew of His calling even long before Isaiah was conceived in his mother’s womb. Moses, too, was so called after being raised in the royal courts for forty years and exiled for forty years in the wilderness desert. He issued a long latent call to Saul (Paul) at the very moment that Saul was on the Damascus Road to persecute the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and her people. Saul’s sins were more than the tongue, they were actually acted out in ways of terror: “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2) Yet, once Saul had seen the Lord, his plans changed immediately and he obeyed all that the Lord required.
Like Saul, Isaiah had seen the Lord of Host with his own eyes. Once a man has an intimate knowledge of the Lord, how can he not serve Him!
Isaiah’s besetting sin was in his tongue of unclean lips and in his fellows with whom he had daily association. How could such a man serve God? Of course, the answer is simple – he cannot. But God can make whomever He calls worthy by granting His own imputed righteousness that will rule in the heart of the man He calls to serve. Before service, however, Isaiah’s troubling vocal sins must be dealt with. “Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Once our hearts are made ready for the royal service, God will repeat the call to a ready servant: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” This is a rhetorical question on the part of the Lord since He knows our hearts and thoughts before we think them. The immediate and correct response of Isaiah is like unto that of every called servant of the Lord: “Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
That which touches the altar of the Lord is made Holy. Isaiah’s unclean lips were touched by the hot coal from the altar and this made Isaiah a man worthy to prophesy for the Lord according to all that the Lord would command.
Even when the Lord calls us to service, we must have our minds, hearts and every member of our body made ready for the service. It was the Lord who enabled Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Saul to become His servants. They did not make themselves worthy. I personally know no minister of the Lord who will admit his worthiness to serve God in his own right. He must be made able and worthy by the Lord. And even when made worthy of the calling, that worthiness comes from the Lord and not the merits of the one called to service. Without the mercy and grace of God Almighty, we are all no more than Judas Iscariot who was a devil even at the moment of his calling.
The minister should be in constant prayer that all that he does and teaches is sanctioned in the Holy Word of God. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10) Then we may utter the words, “Send Me!”