Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pure lips, hot coals, and first grade

I think it's been more than a month since I blogged.  First, I ran out of hours to work at LifeWay and had plenty of time to blog and write.  Then I got a job at my church's school in the afterschool program.  Then I got busy with that.  Then I hosted all my in-laws for Thanksgiving.

And now I finally find time to blog.

The first thing I learned on my second week of subbing for the afterschool program is that children love to tattle on each other.  There is no greater display of man's total depravity than a 1st grade class.  They pout when you say no.  They touch each other.  Sometimes, they get violent.  And they always tell the teacher when somebody said a bad word or won't share.

I just have to smile.  What else can I do?  But if I could teach them that they are all sinners and need to go to Jesus for forgiveness and also to forgive their friends, how would I do that?

I take the example of telling on somebody because he said the "S-word."  Is this the actual S-word, "stupid," or "shut-up"?

I don't know.  Either way, we all are aware that our mouths are not the cleanest.  I thought of one time where a man in the bible had unclean lips and then he met God.

In Isaiah 6, the king Uzziah, the king who had been king for 50 years, had just died.  This same king, who loved the Lord, made a mistake of burning incense when only the priests could do that, and then he talked back to the priests, and then God gave him leprosy for the rest of his life while his son ruled. 

Now he is gone, and Isaiah wakes up and finds himself in heaven's throne room.  A reminder, despite his flaws, Uzziah loved the Lord, and Isaiah was probably one of the more faithful people in that era.  He saw "the Lord sitting on his throne, the train of his robe filling the temple," and all his angels covering their faces from his perfect glory.  Isaiah then has a breakdown and fears his immediate doom.

He is face to face with our perfect God and creator who has every right to dispose of him for even one sin.

"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!”"

But the good thing is that although Isaiah has uttered blasphemies and profanities with his lips, Jesus shows him mercy.  He sends and angel to him with a coal from the altar to burn all the eww off of his lips.  It burns, but it feels so good.  And we know it's Jesus because his cleansing came from the altar where he was sacrificed before the world began.

Immediately, God called him to be prophet to the idolatrous nation of Judah through the reigns of king Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh.  History says that Isaiah lost his life for the gospel during Manasseh's reign.

So, what do you do when your friend says the S-word or any other crude word?  You pray for him.  When a kid tells me that her friend said such-and-such, I tell her to pray for that child.  I can't clean her lips.  Her friend can't clean her lips.  She can't clean her own lips.  But Jesus can do all that.  And once they really know Jesus, they will be frightened by their own unworthiness and relieved by his mercy that they will be able to speak with purity because he's saved them. 

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