“Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

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.””

Isaiah 6:5, 7 NLT

Our mouths can get us into a lot of trouble. I remember as a child when I would talk back or say something under my breath to my mother, she would warn me by saying, “Watch your mouth.” It was hard watching my mouth because I was around so many people who didn’t watch theirs. You start to repeat what you hear, whether it’s at home, on TV, the radio, the streets, or friends. Whatever you allow in will come out of your mouth.

The prophet Isaiah had a great revelation of God. I saw God in the temple after King Uzziah died. There are some things we will not see until something has died in our lives.

When Isaiah saw this glorious spectacle of God’s presence he was keenly aware of his own filthiness. “I am a man of unclean lips and I live amongst people with unclean lips.”

Why this focus on the lips?! Could it be that the lips had something to do with the heart? Could it be that the lips that speak God’s word are the same lips that could repeat gossip?

  1. Your lips reveal the condition of your heart. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). 
  2. Your lips reveal your spiritual condition. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring (James 3:10-12). 
  3. Your lips can start fires. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself (James 3:5-6).

Isaiah confessed that he was a man of unclean lips and he lived amongst people with unclean lips. God sent an angel to take a hot coal from his altar and touch the lips of Isaiah. Instead of burning him he blessed him. God’s fire always purifies. After the fire from the altar Isaiah was now in a position to use his mouth for God’s message.

Today would be a good day to check your mouth. What have you been using it for? God’s message or your own mess? God is asking us the same question he asked Isaiah. Who will go for me? And after our lips are cleansed we should respond with Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me!”

Dear God,

Don’t let me participate in any unhealthy dialogue but only that which builds up. I don’t want to harm anyone with the words from my mouth. Send your angel with the coals from your altar and touch my mouth one more time so that I can be your messenger.

In Jesus’ Name,