The Grace Happens First – Isaiah 6
By Danielle Ayers Jones
Today’s art is a response to Isaiah 6:
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.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (verses 1-8, ESV)
Danielle’s thoughts about the passage and her art follow:
This passage has stirred me for as long as I can remember. Isaiah’s response echoed something in my own heart. A desire to say yes to God’s plans for me. To be willing to accept any mission God gives me.
Until I read this passage the other day, I’ve always focused on Isaiah’s response, his obedience.
But the other day something else struck me.
The burning coal.
Prior to the touch of the burning coal, Isaiah was probably a crumpled heap on the ground as he spoke a prophetic woe against himself. And it is the same with me: when confronted with the holiness of God I realize just how dirty I am. And that is an important place to be. For that is when I’m in position to receive the burning coal of God’s grace: when I realize I need God.
Thankfully, God never leaves me in a crumpled heap on the floor. But once I finally see what I truly am, that is when grace rushes in.
The burning coal is the remedy of God’s grace. It purifies and strengthens. It is plucked from the altar where so many animal sacrifices had been burned and consumed. “Through his seraph, . . . God declares the remedy for Isaiah’s sin to be sufficient and instantly effective. Now Isaiah is qualified to proclaim the only hope of the world–the overruling grace of God.”*
The burning coal represents Jesus, he is the remedy. On the altar of the cross he too was consumed. He took away my sin so I can be free to accept his gift of grace. And once received, God’s grace changes me. I do not stand guilty after accepting it. It is the grace that must come first. It is the grace that gives the power to be able to say, Here am I. Send me.
*ESV Study Bible note for Isaiah 6:6-7
note: today’s art makes use of an istock photo
Danielle Ayers Jones is a storyteller. Whether it’s with paper and pen or behind the lens, it’s one of the things she loves to do best. Her love of all things bookish and artsy led her to earn a degree in English and Graphic Design and to work in an art museum pre-motherhood. Now she has a photography business and has written for Ungrind.com, iBelieve.com, StartMarriageRight.com, Thriving Family, Clubhouse, Jr., Radiant, and Relevant. She also combines her love of writing and photography on her blog, DanielleAyersJones.com. It’s a space where she seeks to find beauty in the everyday, joy in hardship, and encouragement in unexpected places. Danielle lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.