The Power of a Woman's Words

Day 5 of 10 • This day’s reading


All through the Bible we have accounts of God sending men and women out into the world with a message. Whether it is a message of repentance, judgment, deliverance, or hope, God made sure the messengers were placed in strategic moments in time to make an impact on those around them. But God didn’t send the messengers out unprepared. He trained them as only He can do, and He always put them through a process to examine their own hearts.

Isaiah was called to prophesy to Jerusalem 740 years before Christ. In the first five chapters, the overriding theme is impending judgment:

Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field…Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks…Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes…Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks (Isaiah 5:8,11,18,20-22).

But then something happens to Isaiah as he sees his own life reflected in God’s magnificent glory. Isaiah had a vision.

I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:1-5).

I imagine Isaiah was feeling pretty good about himself, being called by God to prophesy to this irksome people. But just when he got out the sixth woe, God decided to hold up the mirror of His holiness in which Isaiah saw his own sin and examined his own heart. And where did the sin manifest itself? His words.

God doesn’t convict us of our sin to condemn us. He reveals our sin to clean us. Just as Isaiah was lamenting his foul tongue, one of the seraphim (brightly shimmering, heavenly beings whose name means “burning ones”) picked up a live coal with tongs from the altar of atonement and touched it to the prophet’s lips.

Now Isaiah was ready to go out into the world and proclaim God’s message to His people, and his “Woe is me” was transformed into “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Now his heart was right before God.

Isaiah didn’t need to change his eating or drinking habits. He didn’t need to alter his outward appearance or take extra classes at the local seminary. He needed to have his words purified and his heart fortified so God could be properly glorified. While it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to change the words we speak, the desire to change begins in the heart.

Heavenly Father, my prayer is simple but difficult today: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

In Jesus’s name,