The prophet Isaiah had a vision of God that changed his life. In Isaiah 6 he saw God high and lifted up on His throne and the regal robes of His glory filled the temple. He also heard the Seraphim cry holy, holy, holy, felt the posts of the doors shake, and perhaps even smelled the smoke that filled the house. When Isaiah saw God in all of His holiness all he could say was: “woe is me, for I am undone”. Isaiah was a greatly used prophet of God. He served God faithfully, but when he saw the absolute holiness of God he became keenly aware of his own sinfulness.
“Woe is me, for I am undone” is not a phrase we hear a lot today. We are more likely to hear people say something like: “wow is me, for I am someone”. Self-esteem is so rooted in our culture it is almost a cult. We hear it in our schools and see it put into practice in children’s athletics where everyone is a winner. When we keep telling ourselves that we are so wonderful and so awesome we do ourselves a disservice. We need to see ourselves as we truly are; a sinner that is in desperate need of a Savior. Isaiah tells us what happened next. He saw one of the Seraphim take a live coal from off the altar and touch the prophet’s lips. Then his iniquity was taken away and his sin purged. The coal on the fire is a symbol of God’s cleansing power. The greatest need in our lives is not a pat on the back it is forgiveness in our heart.
Before we can embrace the good news of God’s amazing grace and stand upright clothed in His righteousness we must first understand that we are nothing more than miserable sinners. Our transformation is complete when we confess our sinfulness and embrace God’s wonderful forgiveness in Christ. Let’s replace our boastful “wow is me” with an honest “woe is me”.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation