Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take the Coal: Purify My Heart

"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of
unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the
LORD of hosts."
Then one of the Seraphim flew to me with burning coal in his hand..."
"Take me past the outer courts, into the HOLY place; Past the Braizen Alter,
"Lord, I want to see your face!"
Pass me by the crowds of people, the Priests who sing your praise;
But... it's only found in one place...
Take me into the HOLY of HOLIES;
Take me in by the BLOOD of the LAMB;
Take me into the HOLY of HOLIES
"Take the COAL touch MY LIPS..
Lord, here I am!"
Isaiah six one through eleven is my absolute favorite piece of the Bible. Really, the best part of the whole thing, I think. Well, to be quite honest, any piece of the Bible is incredible, but those small bits, those pure-gold-nuggets, worth more than all the earth and it's treasure, are those pieces which open up the LORD's glory, purity and righteousness to us.

Isaiah six, especially, speaks to me personally, in a very special way. My hearts dearly longs, cries out... nearly physically painfully at times, to be righteous, pure and holy before the Holy of Holies. By Christ's blood we're washed clean, by God's guidance we're growing in righteousness; by the Almighty's grace, we're created new, and by Jesus' payment, washed pure... But God is calling deeper, wanting more, beckoning me further.
And I want to go!
Lord, call me! Summon me! Extend your scepter to me!

"The Lord has given me a hunger for righteousness and piety
that can alone be of Himself (such hungering He alone can satisfy) yet Satan
would delude and cast up all sorts of other baubles:
social life, a name renowned, a position of importance,
scholastic attainment....
What are these but objects of the 'desire of Gentiles,'
Whose ravings are warped and perverted.
Surely they can mean nothing to the soul who has seen the beauty of Jesus Christ...
... Life is not here,
but hid above with Christ
in God,
and therein I rejoice
and sing
as I think on such exaltation."
Jim Elliot, 1952

I was first introduced to Isaiah 6, probably through Sunday school class, or my parents... but I don't ever remember reading, comprehending, understanding, or even really hearing it.
The first memory I have of genuinely and authentically hearing and listening and sort of comprehending the meaning of Isaiah 6 was about two years ago, singing to myself in the basement doing laundry (where I used do most of my singing and thinking ;),

"I saw the Lord seated on His throne; High and exalted;
and there were angels,
with six mighty wings.
With two they covered their faces,
with two their feet,
and with two they fly...
and I said,
'Woe to me! For I have sinned!
For I am unclean
and so are all my kind!...
But my eyes have seen The King!
The LORD Almighty!"

The mighty picture Isaiah paints before us, with his poetic wording carries a whole lot more weight in it than I first realized.

Coal is generally hot... hot coal... the angel, if you read in verse 6a, picks up the coal with tongs, implying that it's hot, very hot. Too hot to handle.
Throughout the Bible, the metaphor and concept of being purified or refined by fire, as gold, is used. I think this is especially interesting, given the context of this chapter... God's righteousness is so incredibly overpowering, His purity and Holiness so wonderful and overwhelming, that the closer one becomes to the Lord, the more their heart longs, desires, throbs to beat true in His holiness, purity and righteousness. This does not mean perfection, but, rather, a desire to be made into and to desire to long for those things which God desires for them, as Isaiah expresses in "Woe to me!!!" (verse 5)

The heaviness of Isaiah and his plea - the deep calling, never relenting desire humanity has to be Imago Deo (to be picked up out of our sin-filled and fallen state into that holiness that reflects off our Holy of Holy One - Him who is greater than us and all our mistakes combined.)
Kutless reflect this inner-longer in their song 'Take Me In.' Todd Agnew shares his desire in his version of 'Isaiah 6.'
And quite frankly, I would really like to have the words to express this longing without sounding holier than thou.
As Christians we're called to long for and pursue holiness, purity, righteousness; righteousness before our God, and not only long for and pursue it, but also walk and live and talk and think this.

Because third-person words now fail me and cease to come to mind, I'm resorting to writing down this prayer that I've prayed, and continue to pray and will always pray... Please, brothers and sisters, join me in this fight for Purity, RIGHTeousness and Holiness, in the sight of God, and before men (who knows, we could be entertaining angels!).

Take hot coals and touch my unclean lips; my unclean hands;
purify my unclean mind and restore my soul to that of
righteousness, purity and holiness
before you,
O Lord, my God!
take this heart of mine, and make it over;
make me new.
Please, give me the desires of my heart,
because I desire...
I seek...
I deeply, dearly and unrelentingly long for you!
For you alone are God! You are Holy
and Mighty,
and I am nothing before you!
I am an unclean being, saved by grace,
my sins washed away through the blood offering,
the purest sacrifice:
Jesus Christ...
But, Lord, please hear my desire,
listen to my petition,
seek my heart for truthfulness and honesty!
I deeply long to be pure before you, (to be)
and righteous!
My heart cries out for you to say,
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. well done!"

I long for you;
And you alone.
My life,
it is not my own.
I belong to no man,
no human,
no being,
not myself
or any other,
but you, God -
my Rock and my Redeemer.
For you have save my life,
and obviously want my life extended beyond what I thought it would,
or would have chosen for it.
You have made man's mouth!
You have made the deaf,
the mute,
the seeing
and the blind!
You are what I long for,
You are my hearts greatest desire!
I give this all to you -
it is in your control,
in your strong hands...
You own myself,
all that I am...
Make me holy before you;
Make me pure before you;
Please, at least find me righteous, according to who you are...



LaughingLioness said...

Beautiful, Girlfriend (you're off the hook for staying up so late = ). I know God is asking you to take this out farther....

Miss. Elisabeth said...

:) Would you mind expounding on that, sometime? I realy want to hear what you have to say!!

Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?