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.”

Sometimes people think they’re way better than they really are.  I know I do.

I struggle with my weight.  I like to eat sweets and lots of good food.  So it doesn’t take long for me to pile on fat.   I can look in the mirror and lie to myself saying; ‘Got to lose a little weight but I still look good!’ It’s only when I see the bathroom scales tip over to a far higher number than I thought that the truth dawns on me.  Or when I look down as I struggle to cinch my belt and see my gut hanging over the strained leather that I get disgusted.  You’ve got to see to believe!

That’s what it was like for Isaiah.  When he actually saw the Lord sitting high and lifted up he got a standard – a true measure of who God was in all His majesty and who he really was in all his wretched state:

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. 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.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  (Isaiah 6:1-4)

When Isaiah finally saw who and what he really was compared to God’s holiness he was ready to be transformed by God and serve Him;

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:  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.  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:6-8)

Centuries later a man named Saul saw something that changed his life forever. 

Saul thought he was pretty good and was on a righteous mission;

 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  (Acts 9:1,2)

God had other plans for Saul but first He had to get Saul to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’;

As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 9:3-5)

Paul was flat on his back in the dust, broken and ‘ready’ to respond to God;

So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:6-8)

And so it is with us all.  When we finally get a glimpse of God’s holiness – that great, soul shattering, consuming light – we ‘wake up’ broken.  Losing our worldly sight, our spiritual sense quickens like blindness quickens hearing and smell; we wake up and smell the coffee.  God doesn’t need us or our work but we need Him and His Work in us.  This is conversion.  This is sanctification.  This is awesome because it is God’s burning light shining on us.  This is awful because it shrivels our fat bloated ego.  This is the awesome and awful holiness of God;

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28,29)

This is God at work in us and the world!  His light burning away the fat and poison of vanity.  People waking up to smell the coffee and being ready to truly serve.

Later Paul was to write:

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24,25)

Thank-you Jesus!