One of my favorite passages of scripture is Isaiah 6. I’ve studied this text many times as it is one of the models for worship that I was taught in school. In this chapter we get to see the prophet Isaiah entering into the presence of the Lord. There are a lot of really neat and powerful things that occur to Isaiah, but in today’s post I want to focus in on something that I’ve been missing until recently.
It occurs in verse 7 when an angel of the Lord approaches Isaiah with a burning coal and Isaiah says He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” The coal removes Isaiah’s guilt and his sins are forgiven. Now, I’ve always focused on his sins being forgiven, because it’s a big deal. When you truly come into the presence of God, you realize how sinful you are, but then those same sins are forgiven. Pretty cool, right? And so I’ve always kind of skipped over the guilt being removed part. But I think that part is just as important. How many times have you entered into a time of worship at church, felt the presence of God, and then left feeling convicted about some sin in your life. I don’t believe it is supposed to be that way. According to Isaiah 6, when we genuinely come into the presence of God, there is forgiveness of sins, but there is also the removal of guilt.
So, where have we gone wrong? I believe it is because even in the presence of God, we hold back from Him. We don’t give Him every part of our being and so there is this guilt that is left after our worship experience is over. Isaiah was completely broken (vs. 5) before the Lord. He was broken physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Everything he had was laid before the throne of God. We, on the other hand, tend to shy away from this type of experience with the Lord because it scares us. We don’t want to be completely broken before God. We’re scared of where it will take us. We’re scared of looking embarrassed in front of others we’re around at the time. And so we hold back. We never give in to God. And because of this we never get to experience the freedom that can be found in his forgiveness and removal of guilt. Just think about it. No more feeling guilty for the dumb things you’ve done. Wow! I’ll be honest and say that I need more of that. Because when we are truly free from our sins and our past we can live our lives in the freedom and power of God. And we can truly experience His presence in all of its glory!