"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called to another and said: 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.' " Isaiah 6:1-7
These passages are really shocking to read. An unclean man comes face to face with a The Holy God. His small little world suddenly has the bright light of eternity shining on it. It is like a small shy child being shown on national television to have a test paper with a big red "F" with a circle on it in his hand. Crying with shame and disappointment.
There is something about that altar. The place of sacrifice... if we are touched by it. The shame is gone. Touched by something that is hot and dangerous to the natural man. Something out of reach. The coal must be brought to the man.
Christ's cross is like that. Hot, dangerous and out of reach. We don't see it's purpose until we are touched by it.
"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.' " Isaiah 6:8
Once touched something strange happens... suddenly we can hear that God is speaking and that He has been all along. It is not a voice directed at us alone. It is directed at all of humanity at once.
'Who will go for us?', says God.
The angels are still chanting, 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' but with shame now removed God's voice can be heard over the sound of it. Who can answer it? Who even knows God is speaking? The angels are so loud that the sound of it shakes the foundations of an unclean man in an unclean land.
There are coals in the altar because of Jesus. Jesus is really the one who made it happen. God's cry of 'Who will go for us?' could only really be answered by one man. A man who said amen to 'Holy, Holy, Holy' and did not hide in shame.
Because of Christ there is a cross that can touch us and make us clean. A cross that can open our ears.
Who knew God wanted to recruit men? Isaiah now jumps up and down with his hand raised, 'Here I am God. Pick me. Pick me.'
Can you hear God's voice? He is speaking and He wants an answer.