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Short Bits: "Woe is me!"

Updated: May 7, 2022

SHORT BITS are shorter posts when I'm short on time but not inspiration.

What I so cherish about Isaiah’s experience is when He’s called by God and sees Him, Isaiah's well aware how very unworthy He is and cries out earnestly with a phrase that's now part of our universal vernacular. Our gracious and merciful God responds by promptly dispatching a seraphim--a VIP angel (super-cool-scary-looking, BTW)--who places a burning hot coal to Isaiah’s mouth and pronounces him clean:

“Your sin is atoned for.”

Isaiah’s sole part in this qualification process is a vulnerable, humble admission of his sorry state, acknowledgement of who God is, and submission to the Almighty's authority. That's it. Simple, smart and really, inextricably linked if we know what's good for us, which of course, we seldom do. This is a sweet and succinct foreshadowing of Christ's salvation equation some 700 years later.

Isaiah's appointed mission was prophet to God's people to get them back on track and to predict the coming Messiah centuries before Christ's birthday. It's a revealing insight about the prophet's character that Isaiah was spontaneously and heartbrokenly repentant not only for his own defects, but also on behalf of his wayward people. He's keenly attuned to both his and his peep's messedupedness, and cares about their fate. He was definitely the man for this difficult but privileged and critical job. Even though he didn't think so, God knew so, and made it so.

There's a lesson in there for all of us.

However, note that it IS a hot coal the seraphim places on Isaiah’s mouth. I’m thinking that smarted. A lot. Being sanctified for God’s use smarts. A lot. The breaking of the outer man. 😂 It may have left a scar, too, unless the angel performed healing cosmetics, which God is known to do.

Yes, being a prophet--speaker/teacher for God--is a weighty calling, but essential, even now. However much the term prophet gives modern-day folks the heebie-jeebies, the apostle Paul says it's a highly desirable spiritual gift. The job description has changed a bit post-Jesus. Back in the day, prophets issued a lot of dire warnings with threats of wrath. While New Testament prophets still warn (think John the Baptist or Jesus' own call to "repent!"), Paul describes the prophet's role as "strengthening, encouraging and comforting" people.

God knows we need more of that.

Thanks to Jesus, who willingly suffered the fiery judgment we all deserve, the modern-day prophetic vibe is so very different. That's good news.

Really Good News.

Our loving God has offered us all a way out of the ginormous mess we've made--personal, national, or planetary! We need only follow Isaiah's simple example:

Admit our sin and need.
Believe in Jesus.
Confess that Jesus is Lord.

We believers can get back to basics anytime, too. Just in case we ever mess up.

Grace, peace, love, and joy in Christ!

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