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).
Isaiah speaks for God to a nation in judgment. He sings a song to Judah of a beautiful vineyard full of grapes gone bad. Past the point of pruning, it is time to uproot:
And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed. ~Isaiah 5:5-6
God gives six reasons why, six woes delivered by his prophet Isaiah, chapter 5, verses 8, 11, 18, 20 21, and 22. Having rejected their God, they live in a world turned upside down, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). God’s prophet speaks the truth.
There is a seventh woe and it belongs not to God, but to Isaiah. A vision of the holiness of God confronts Isaiah with his own sinfulness, and he cries: “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!” (Isaiah 6:5). God’s prophet is humble, speaking not from self-righteousness, but of God’s righteousness.
Most importantly, God’s prophet knows grace. Isaiah’s unclean lips are touched by God, “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 6:6-7).
Truth must be spoken with courage and clarity, and always by a heart humbled by a soul touched with the grace of God.
Righteous God, You are good and Your Words bring life. May I be one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. May I live in peace, in so far as I am able. But, if something is wrong, may I be a defender of right, a defender of justice. May I be one who speaks up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of the broken and the poor and the needy.
Knowing Your goodness, experiencing Your grace, may I never wash my hands of what is right and just and good.