The prophet Isaiah received a kiss as well, but of a far different nature. He was kissed on the lips by a white-hot coal. The kiss he received was not a romantic kiss, it was a purifying, cleansing kiss. But it was a still a kiss of love, an evidence of the overwhelming love of God. Listen to Isaiah 6:1-8:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “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!” Then 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.”
The moment Isaiah saw God, he was overwhelmed by his depravity. Just a glimpse of God’s radiant glory made Isaiah deeply aware of his wickedness. Isaiah had no doubts that he was a guilty sinner, particularly in the area of speech. He was a man of unclean lips, a man with a filthy mouth. Isaiah was keenly aware of the wicked and vile words that had come from his mouth, and which were ultimately an overflow of his heart. Guilt, sorrow, and fear overwhelmed him.
But in His astonishing mercy, God does not allow Isaiah to wallow in His guilt. Rather than obliterating Isaiah as He should have, he forgives and purifies Isaiah. He sends a seraphim, armed with a burning ember, to touch Isaiah on the lips. God purifies Isaiah instead of killing him, purifies him with a kiss of fire.
Friends, we have also received this kiss of fire. We are wicked people with unclean lips. Take one minute and think back on the past week. How many foul things have come out of your mouth? Or how many foul things have you wanted to say that you kept in your heart? We are a wicked people who deserve the fiery wrath of God. And yet we have received mercy upon mercy and grace upon grace. God has repaid our curses with kindness, our wickedness with mercy. He nailed His son to the cross that atonement might be made for our sins, and in doing so, He made a way for us to be purified. He has given us the kiss of fire.
Lord, how can we not love such a merciful God? No one has been kinder than you, no one has given us more mercy. Fill our hearts with love for you today. Give us deep affection for you, the One who has atoned for our sin.
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