Pitching “Woes” and Feeling “Lo”
A Devotional Thought from Isaiah 6:1–7
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. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said,
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts:
The whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 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. 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: 7 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.
In the previous chapter Isaiah was pitching some serious woes.
In my imagination, I see Isaiah at the center of a baseball diamond. He is on the mound and faithfully trying to read the signals from on high. He is not throwing strikes or balls but slinging out statements of condemnation. He is pitching “woes”.
Six times he issued this warning of coming judgement on those that were disobedient. (Isaiah 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22)
The prophet pitched those “woes” fast and hard at the selfish and greedy, sin obsessed and conceited. One after another he hurls them out with conviction and courage.
The chapter ends and he is not finished, there is another throw coming.
Have you ever watched a baseball game when the pitcher is starting to show some signs of fatigue and the manager comes out to the mound? Will there be just some words of encouragement or will he make a change? It will be determined when the manager and his player meet face to face.
For Isaiah, before that next “woe” is hurled, he will have a meeting and there will be a much needed pitching change.
In chapter six the prophet will get a glimpse into the Heavenly temple and see the Lord on his throne. He will see the great Creator and Sustainer in his splendor. The magnificent Seraphim will be seen bowing down to the glorious God of the universe crying, “Holy, holy, holy…” to the one who truly is most holy. The place where Isaiah is standing will quake at the sight. Rumor has it that all that shaking was caused by the knees of the prophet at this incredible, intimidating vision.
Now, the pitcher is ready for that next pitch. Instead of sending it toward the wicked around him, the faithful pitcher hurls it hard at himself.
Isaiah 6:5 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.
You see, a vision of the greatness of God will change you.
You just can’t see the Lord and then see everything else the same. Where before Isaiah saw the sins of others, after his meeting with the Divine he now recognizes his own depravity.
When Isaiah confesses his own sin, that is when he feels a touch from above with these words
Isaiah 6:7 …Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isaiah was pitching “woes” but then felt a life changing “Lo” when he saw his God’s greatness and confessed his sin.
What is the point?
Perhaps you are like Isaiah, quick to cast woes on others. Maybe you are throwing out judgements and blame. Maybe you refuse to accept any responsibility for any “woes” that you might deserve. I encourage you to get a glimpse of God from his word and see that you are also in need of great grace.
Maybe you recognize your need, you know you deserve the “woe”. If so, there is a wonderful “lo”, a life changing touch that your Savior is ready to give.
I have had a very similar experience as Isaiah. As a young preacher, I was guilty of throwing out “woes” to everyone but myself. My years of studying my Bible has shown me the greatness of my God as well as the greatness of my own need. I can’t look through the lens of grace and see everyone else like I once did. We all just need his touch!