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 (Manna 45: A Life of Servitude)
The Burning One
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Vuthy Nol-Mantia — Boston, Massachusetts, USA


            In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (Isa 6:1-2)

The prophet Isaiah heard the voice of God in a vision saying, “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Isaiah responded, “Here am I! Send me.” In the vision, he also saw the seraphim show him the meaning of true servitude. From the seraphim’s example, he was able to answer God’s calling with readiness, confidence, and fervor—because he understood what it takes to serve the Lord.

In the same way, we have to learn from the seraphim the attitudes of a servant before we come out to serve God. And it is when God sees that we are ready and prepared vessels that He will call us to His work.

Seraphim are God’s angels, and their name means “the burning one.” This adjective is often used in the Bible to describe a person’s holiness and zeal towards God—both of which are extremely important when we serve Him.

Many servants of God in the past had this burning desire to serve God, even when they faced many trials and persecutions for speaking the truth to people who did not want to hear it. It would be so much easier to give up their service to God, but they couldn’t because their hearts burned with His message and His work.

If we know the Lord we serve, our hearts would be burning with the same zeal as the seraphim. We can’t help but proclaim God’s word because His spirit smolders in our hearts and motivates us.

Since I came to Christ five years ago, I have met many older members of the church who always amaze me. Some of them have served God all their lives, and their hearts continue to burn with zeal.

On the other hand, I’ve also met some younger members who do not have the desire to serve the Lord, even though they have been given great talents and gifts. They lack the zeal for God because they do not truly know Him nor see the value of serving Him. Therefore, our zeal in service comes from knowing the One we serve.

Knowing Him also means that we have to see ourselves from His perspective, just as the seraphim also understood their place.


The seraphim in Isaiah’s vision each had six wings.

With two wings, he covered his face. This gesture symbolizes self-denial. In the world today, it is hard to cover our faces because they are so important to us. Every year, people spend thousands of dollars on makeup, facelifts, or cosmetic surgeries. Many of us would not forget to put on makeup before we go out to make our faces beautiful.

Yet, the seraphim that Isaiah saw each covered his face.

“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” (Lk 9:23). The Lord’s words are a hard saying—He wants us to deny ourselves by covering our faces.

Maybe we can go two or three days without looking at our faces. But to not look at our own faces our whole lives would be almost impossible. However, in a spiritual sense, all servants of God have to cover their faces and deny themselves, no matter how difficult this may be.

Why is it so important to deny ourselves? Read the account of the fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-14. Why was he cast down from heaven? God said to him, “[F]or you have said in your heart….”

He was driven out of God’s presence simply because, in his heart, he thought himself equal to God, the Most High. Pride had taken control over him.

The way pride festers in our hearts is similar to the process of internal bleeding. We may be bleeding inside, but we may not realize it until it’s too late. It often builds up in us before we know it, and we may even be rejected by God before we realize it.

God said to Lucifer, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isa 14:15). God humbles those who exalt themselves and He will bring them low.

Knowing the seriousness and dreadful consequences of pride, we have to learn to deny ourselves if we wish to worship and serve God. We need to remove the “I” in our thinking—take away the ego in our service. Then, we may be servants who are acceptable in God’s eyes.


With two of his wings, each of the seraphim also covered his feet. This action reminds us to forget our accomplishments in our service.

In our journey of serving God, our feet will inevitably leave footprints along the way. But we must not look back on these footprints. We have to leave behind any contributions we might have brought to God’s ministry. Otherwise, it will become a hindrance to our service.

We cannot savor the memories of what we have done for God. Past accomplishments are not nearly as important as what lies ahead.

            Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)

Paul does not look behind him because he knows that he has yet to attain his goal in Christ. He illustrates this point by painting a vivid picture of an athlete running a marathon.

Let’s say a race stretches 26.5 miles. If the runner looks back at the 26 miles he has run but stumbles in the last 0.5 mile, he loses the entire race. Although the last few hundred feet are the most difficult, only the runners who strive toward the goal ahead will get to the finish line.

We also need to develop such perseverance in our ministry, and we must strive forward and not look back.


Each of the seraphim used two of his wings to fly.

The flying seraphim teach us the importance of reaching new spiritual heights as we serve God. As servants of God, not only do we have to deny ourselves and forget what is behind, we also need to let the Holy Spirit lift us high and far above earthly things.

            If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col 3:1-2)

Why should we set our mind on things above? Because that is where Christ sits at the right hand of God. If we want to serve the Lord who sits on the throne, high and lifted up, we have to elevate our minds. If we are not lifted up high, we cannot see things from God’s perspective nor understand His will. We would only see and yield to the things of the world. Worst, we would serve Him using our own ways and thinking.

Setting our minds on things above also means we have to consider spiritual matters more important than worldly matters. It is often easy to become confused about whom we are really serving. In this world, there are many different gods: the gods of money, career, fame, etc. And everyday, we may be unconsciously serving these earthly gods.

Moreover, the value of these things is slight and temporary. If we focus on earthly matters, they become like unnecessary baggage that inhibits our flight, delaying us from drawing closer and nearer to God.

True blessings can only be found in serving God. We have to continually and unceasingly grow in the grace and knowledge of all things that are spiritual and that are of God (2 Pet 3:18). We have to place His matters as our first priority.

When we recognize that it is the eternal and glorious God that we serve, we will appreciate the honor and value of our service. Only then can we serve Him steadfastly and joyfully.


Before we can serve the true and living God, we must first realize that we are nothing but sinners. We are worth nothing apart from God. It is only by God’s mercy that we can live and serve Him.

            So [Isaiah] said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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. Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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 live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged. Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” (Isa 6:5-7)

When Isaiah heard the glorious voice of the seraphim crying out God’s holiness and immense glory, and when he witnessed the smoke that filled the temple he was completely shaken. He suddenly realized how unworthy he was, being nothing but a sinner before God.

Despite Isaiah’s sinfulness, the seraphim flew to Isaiah and touched his lips with live coal to purge his iniquity. The Spirit of God is so powerful that it can completely cleanse our hearts and refine us.

Why the lips? As the prophet of God, Isaiah used his lips to declare God’s words. If his lips were unclean, he would become useless to God. Likewise, if we are zealous and are able to humble ourselves but our lips are not clean, we still cannot serve God.

Whether it is preaching the gospel or encouraging each other, we need to use our lips. Filthy lips cannot lead people to Christ.

            Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. (Jas 3:3-4)

A horse, which is more than ten times stronger than a man, can be tamed by a small bit. A ship, which is impossible to be moved by hand, can be turned with a small rudder. In the same way, if we are able to master control over our tongue, we would be able to control our entire body.

James 3:5-6 also describes the tongue as a little fire that can spread and burn down an entire forest. This explains how the small tongue can defile our entire being.

The tongue is able to create far-reaching consequences, both good and bad. That is why we must take care to use it to benefit others. Otherwise, our tongue may ruin the very good works we have done for the Lord.


Suppose you are very good pianist or a great cook, and the president of the United States, who is one of the most powerful figures on earth today, invited you to a solo performance at the White House or to prepare a banquet for him. How honored you would feel! You would definitely prepare for this grand event day and night for weeks and months

As Christians, we need to realize that the God we worship and serve is the true and living God, and we must have the same zeal to serve Him as we would serve the president of our country. In fact, we should serve Him with more reverence than we would serve anyone else.

The prophet Isaiah’s dedication and courage were not impulsive or short-lived resolutions. Before he offered himself for the Lord’s use, God prepared him through the example of the seraphim.

Isaiah saw the majesty and glory of the King he served. He learned the seraphim’s humility, persistence, and closeness with God. He trembled before the Lord, realizing his sin and unworthiness, and he received the cleansing that came from the fire of God’s altar. Only then could He bravely cry out, “Here am I! Send me.”

It wasn’t until Isaiah truly understood the meaning of servitude was he able to confidently accept God’s commission. It was God who would work through him to accomplish His plan.

Let us each heed and learn the lessons that God has taught Isaiah, so that we may also answer the Lord’s calling with the same boldness and conviction. May our life-long service to the King be ever pleasing to Him.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church