In the eyes of the world, the Prophet Isaiah was a holy man. He was a righteous prophet of God who others strived to be like. In the fifth chapter of the book of Isaiah, the prophet pronounced six woes upon the people of the land proclaiming the judgment of God upon them, as well as the punishment that would come as a result of the wickedness of their hearts. Isaiah was correct and justified in every woe he pronounced. However, in the next chapter we find Isaiah in the very presence of God where he then pronounced a woe upon himself as he says in Isaiah 6:5, “Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
What was the difference between the fifth and sixth chapters? In the sixth chapter Isaiah was standing in the very presence of God. In Isaiah 6:1-4 he describes how he saw “the Lord lofty and exulted sitting upon His throne.” He saw the angels before Him worshiping Him and heard them proclaim, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” When Isaiah stood in God’s presence and saw Him in all His majesty and glory and when he recognized the absolute Holiness of God, he also recognized that any righteousness he thought he had pales in comparison to God’s.
Upon the recognition of his sinfulness in the presence of God’s holiness, he proclaimed in verse five, “woe is me, for I am ruined.” He knew that sin could not come into the presence of God and would, therefore, be destroyed. He knew in his heart that he would be ruined, undone, destroyed. However, upon his confession of sin, God chose to give him grace and cleanse him from his sin instead of condemn him. When Isaiah recognized the grace that God had given to him, he chose to worship and serve Him all the days of his life.
Many years later Isaiah proclaimed the word of the Lord in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.” We see that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; and His ways are not our ways, when we are okay with sin. We have no problem with the little white lies or the stirring up of strife so long as we get our way. We have no problems walking in the conformity of the world, although we are ignorantly walking against God rather than with Him. For this reason, we so desperately need to seek God! We need His presence in our lives to show us His ways so we can repent of our own, to know His thoughts so we can rebuke the lies and deception we thought were truth.
When we seek God and find Him as His word promises us we will, we discover how sinful we truly are in light of how holy He truly is. This should then provoke repentance of sin within our lives, drawing us all the more in love and on fire for a holy God. God has promised us in I John 1:9 that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When He forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we then can have true fellowship with God.
However, we need to truly seek God in our lives. Apart from Him we have no desire to repent from sins. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God gives us the “will” to live “for His good pleasure”. Apart from the presence of God in our lives, we won’t have any will to repent of our sins and serve Him. Jesus also said in John 16:8 that He sends the Helper, which is the Holy Spirit. “When He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Praise God we do not have to fight the battles of the flesh on our own. He has given to us a Helper.
However we need to submit ourselves to the standards of God and seek the Helper to guide us down that path. A great scripture that I often pray is Psalm 139:23, 24 which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” I seek God asking Him to search me and try me because I may be unaware of sinful attitudes and actions within my life. Everyone else in my life may know of my sins, but I could be totally in the dark. However, when I seek God and ask Him to search me and try me and to show me everything in my life that does not line up with Him, He will. This then will produce a heart and a mind of repentance to where I will fully know the grace and mercy of God through a life of fellowship with God. He is a holy God that not only requires holiness within my life but will also produce it, if I seek Him and allow Him.