Yesterday, we saw God’s love and mercy extended to His servant, Isaiah, the prophet who was dedicated in service to the temple of the Lord. His whole life changed after one moment in the temple where God in theophany appeared. His reaction: “Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips.” Today, I want to share that as a teenager, I would teach our small high school Bible study from this passage in Isaiah Chapter 6. I thought that “unclean lips” meant he cussed, so I would teach my peers not to use foul language.
I have learned from Jewish law that this text is not about cursing. Unclean lips means using your words to harm people and get power for yourself. You have taken the Lord’s name in vain, which does not mean saying, “Oh my God.” To serve yourself, you are communicating “things that you claim are from God, but are not from God.” It’s also doing evil in God’s name. Perhaps Isaiah lied and tainted someone’s reputation. Maybe he gossiped or revealed a secret that someone entrusted to Him. Until this point, he justified it by thinking, “It’s okay; I’m just like every other man here.”
Friend, as Isaiah was in God’s presence, all this unconscious guilt and shame of hurting people with his words came to the surface. Yet God extended His love, forgiveness, and grace to His servant. Let’s seek to encounter God’s presence, knowing His love will transform us without guilt or condemnation.