May I suggest to you that God never wastes pain.
When one examines the Old Testament, one clearly comes to know that the Old Testament has 39 books; 5 books of Law, 12 books of History, 5 books of Poetry and 17 books of Prophecy. Our text comes out of one of the 17 books of Prophecy.
The books of Prophecy are divided into two categories; major and minor. Five of the books of Prophecy are major and twelve are minor. The distinction that labels a prophecy book minor or major, would be the size and not the substance contained in the book.
The major prophecies are from Isaiah to Daniel. Isaiah is larger than the minor prophecies combined. There is a total of 66 chapters in Isaiah. Isaiah’s book is divided into 3 sections. Chapters 1 thru 39 is the first section, 40 – 55 is the second section, and then 56 – 66 is the last section.
May I suggest to you, that God never wastes pain. God will use the pain for your good and for His glory. Every pain that you encounter in life is done for your good and for His glory. There is purpose in pain. Pain is useful.
Isaiah is a person who has pain. The text shows us what Isaiah’s pain is. The Bible tells us that Isaiah went to church, he went to the temple and for the very first time, he sees something that he has never seen before. What he saw that brought him pain was that he saw Isaiah; Isaiah saw himself. He saw someone that was corrupt. He saw someone that was unworthy. He saw someone that has twisted values.
He had never seen it before and when he saw himself, he said, “Woe it’s me!” Let me ask you, what if you went to church and you had an opportunity to see you? What if you saw your corruption? What if you saw your twistedness? What if you saw your selfishness?
Now, it probably won’t happen because rather than seeing ourselves, we’re too busy assessing and evaluating and seeing our neighbor rather than seeing ourselves. It probably won’t happen because anytime our heart starts feeling convicted about who we are, the mind becomes an attorney for our defense. The mind will begin to justify why we are what we see, and the mind will give our heart rationalization as to why we are like we are. So it probably won’t happen.
Woe It’s Me
In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah said, “Woe it’s me.” But if you go over to Isaiah chapter 5 around verse 8, notice he says, “Woe unto them.” Drop down to verse 11 where He said, “Woe unto them.” Now go over to verse 18 and he said, “Woe unto them.” Look at verse 20. He said, “Woe unto them.” Verse 21, “Woe unto them.”
Five times Isaiah looked around at other people and saw their inconsistencies, their habits, their addictions, their proclivities and said, “Woe it’s them.” Isn’t that really how we tend to function in our own lives? We blame others! “Woe it’s my spouse.” “Woe it’s my teacher.” “Woe, it’s my employees.” “Woe, it’s my Pastor.” And there may be some justification for the “woes” in our lives that come from other people.
But very seldom do we rise to the level of real maturity where we can take an honest assessment and inventory of ourselves to the point that we say like Isaiah, “Woe it’s me.” This makes all the difference in the world!
The question that we have to ask of our text is, how did Isaiah get to that place in his life?
Marked on the calendar of our hearts
I believe he got to this place because he was “Discerning.” Look at verse 1. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Listen, we usually mark the calendars of our hearts not by dates; we mark the calendar of our hearts by great life experiences.
On the calendar of your heart is not January, February, March, April, May – on the calendar of your heart are some great life experiences. For Isaiah, it was the year King Uzziah died.
Who was King Uzziah? To Isaiah, King Uzziah was his everything! He was a righteous, great, moral leader who died from leprosy. When Uzziah died, Isaiah’s life collapsed because he depended on this great noble King. So for Isaiah, he marked the calendar of his heart with that life experience so much so until he says, “It was in the year that Uzziah died.”
The truth is, if I could see the calendar of your heart, it would show evidence that your heart has been marked by events. Your heart would be marked with the event that your Mother or Father died. Someone else might have their heart marked with the event of when your doctor diagnosed you with cancer. For somebody else, it was when after giving 30 years of service to a company, they hand you a pink slip. This is because we usually mark the calendar of our hearts through life experiences.
Isaiah is having deep sorrow. Notice what he does while grieving. The Bible tells us that he goes to church! Let’s applaud him for going to church. While experiencing deep grief, Isaiah goes to the church house! He makes his way to the House of God. He’s in the temple. I need to tell somebody that when you are experiencing life’s pains, do not try to deal with life’s pains in solitude. You need to go by the House of God! What got Isaiah in church was the grief he was experiencing.
Pain, Worthwhile? Are you Serious?
Any pain that would cause you to run to the Lord’s house is a pain with a purpose. If pain was the catalyst behind you seeking God, then pain has purpose. Isaiah said I saw the Lord! This is interesting because the Lord was always there! Isaiah had been in church on many occasions like many of us, but for some strange reason on this particular day, he saw the Lord. But it wasn’t like the Lord wasn’t always there. The Lord is in His Holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. The Lord has always been there but for some reason, Isaiah was not discerning that the Lord was there.
Let me ask, is it possible for you to come to church and not sense that you are in the presence of God? You come out of ritual without feeling God’s presence. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, “He was sitting upon a throne.” Isaiah has a vision of God sitting upon a throne. Isaiah had been seeing King Uzziah sitting upon a throne for years. But now he gets a vision of God sitting on the Heavenly throne.
Though the throne on earth was vacant, the throne in Heaven has an occupant. Isaiah needed to see that though the throne on earth was limited, the throne in Heaven was infinite. He needed to see that though the earthly throne was powerless, the throne in Heaven has all power. Isaiah needed to see this! It’s important for us when we go to church and something has been taken from our lives, or when something is vacant that use to be there, it’s important that we go to church and see God!
Where was God?
Maybe God was always there and Isaiah just didn’t see God because he was too busy looking for Uzziah. I believe that sometimes God has to move our Uzziah’s who is temporal, so we see God who is eternal. Notice what he saw about God. He said, “God was sitting on the throne.” Uzziah has died! A great leader has fallen. And God is sitting! Notice the text does not say that God is pacing the floor. It does not say that because there is a vacancy on earth that God is nervous or anxious, wondering what He’s going to do about the empty seat on this earthly throne! It’s important for you to know that God never calls an emergency session to deal with what you and I are wrestling with.
Here’s why. Because He’s sovereign! Isaiah had a vision of God while in church and God was still in control. If you can go to church and as a result of something that has been taught, or some testimony given, or a song sung, or some prayer prayed, then leave church saying, “There are things on earth that’s vacant, but as long as God is still on the throne, I believe everything is going to be alright.” Then that’s DISCERNMENT!
According to our text, Isaiah was “Discerning.” Not only was Isaiah Discerning, but he was also “Disturbing.” He felt something disturbing! He saw something disturbing and that was, he saw himself. What he saw about himself was that he wasn’t right, how unclean he was and that he was hanging around unclean persons. Isaiah was disturbed about himself. Please note, you will never get yourself together if you don’t get disturbed about where you are.
Why Pastor, of all the times he had been going to church, is he now disturbed about himself? The reason he felt disturbed about himself was because of who he saw in the vision. Isaiah saw the Lord! Anytime you see God in His Holiness and in all of His splendor, you can’t help but see all the hell that’s inside of you. This is different than you comparing yourself to some spiritual dwarf that doesn’t allow you to see who you really are. But when we go to God’s house and see Him in His goodness and in His greatness and in His graciousness and in all of His splendor, we can’t help but say, “Woe it’s me.”
Seraphims or Cherabims?
In this text, we can’t help but notice that worship is taking place. Isaiah tells us that above God were seraphims, which are angels! This is the only time that we read about seraphims! We have read about cherubims, which are the angels who were the guards in the Garden of Eden who kept Adam and Eve from coming back to the garden after being expelled from the garden. But these angels are seraphims. The Bible tells us that each one of these angels had six wings. With two of their wings, they covered their face. With another two wings, they covered their feet and with the other two wings, the Bible says, “They did fly.” This is referencing the ambulatory speed of an Angel!
Angels On Guard
When you are in trouble, God’s got some angels watching over you and with their wings, they move with ambulatory speed to handle your situation. When Daniel got thrown into the Lions’ Den, his angels with ambulatory speed got in the Lions’ Den with him and closed up the Lion’s mouths; so much so that King Darius called out to Daniel in the den, “Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel responded, “O King live forever. My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me.” All day and all night, Angels watching over me my Lord! You ought to be careful because you have entertained angels unknowingly.
These Angels could fly. They also had wings that they used to cover their face. They covered their face because they were in the presence of God. Whenever one gets exposed to light, it will make you cover your eyes until you can adjust to the light. God is so much light that when the Angels came in God’s presence, they would have to cover their eyes because of His Shekinah glory! This is how awesome God is! His train filled the temple! The train is the hem of God’s robe. Only the hem of God’s robe could fit in the temple. All this means is that God is so enormous and awesome that we can never comprehend the greatness of God. The Bible says the Angels are crying out and bowing continually saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” The Bible said the door post shook.
A Timely Declaration
Isaiah was Discerning – He saw something Disturbing – Then he started Declaring! Verse 5 – “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.” This is the key to change! It’s called self-evaluation! It’s when you agree that your life is not in alignment with God. I’m not operating according to His will nor His word. But I want to get me right! I want to work on me. If you see God while working on you, you’re going to say, “Woe, it’s me!” Now the Devil wants you to believe that nothing can fix your “Woe” He wants you to believe that nothing can change your “Woe” The Devil is a liar! Because if you, according to 1 John 1:9, “Confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The moment Isaiah said, “Woe, it’s me,” he went from seeing something “Disturbing” to “Declaring” something “Delighting!”
Watch verse 6 in Isaiah chapter 6, “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: 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.” God will forgive and cleanse us whenever we see ourselves for who we really are. “Woe it’s me!” This is God giving us another chance!
Discerning, Disturbing, Declaring, & Delighting
He was Discerning. He was Disturbing – because he saw himself. Then he was “Declaring.” “Woe it’s me.” Then he was “Delighting” because God had forgiven him of his sin. Now he’s “Deciding.” Look at verse 8 of our text, “Also 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.” After Isaiah gets cleaned up, he decides to be used by God. Isaiah becomes God’s mouthpiece. Isaiah becomes God’s prophet.
Here is the summary of Isaiah’s call Woe, (vs 5) Lo (vs 7), Go (vs 9). He went to church one way and he came out another way! The transformation in Isaiah’s life took place because he went to church. You ought not go to church one way and leave church the same way you came. You shouldn’t go mean and leave mean. You shouldn’t go depressed and leave depressed. You shouldn’t go with no hope and leave with no hope. It’s not God’s fault because God is in His Holy Temple! The Holy Spirit is present in the church. The word is being preached. When we go to church, we ought to leave different than we came.
- Cars that go through the car wash
- Dirty clothes that go through the cleaners
- Hair Salon – with your hair
You go in one way but you come out another way. You never have to tell anyone you’ve been to the hair salon or the Barbershop. You don’t have to tell someone you been to the car wash or the cleaners. They can look at you and tell you’ve been somewhere. Well, it ought to be the same when you go to church. People ought to see something different about you. The Word is being preached! Songs are being sung! God’s spirit is running rampant in His church. Fellowship is going on. Prayers are being prayed. Something ought to happen to you!
The chaplain for Timothy Partners, Ltd., Pastor Anthony E. Moore is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and his lovely wife, First Lady, Cynthia A. Moore a native of Dallas, Texas. Pastor Moore has served Carolina Missionary Baptist Church since 1987 and has been proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over thirty years. His latest book is “One Moore Minute” a devotional series. No matter your age, the color of your skin, your circumstance, your economic plight in life, it’s a fact, that through the love of Jesus Christ – you can do all things.