The verse I refer to is Isaiah 64:6, which reads,
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Now I'm sure that you guys have read me use this (or heard someone else use this) to indicate that even the good works we do are like filthy rags in the eyes of God. Of course, no one likes to touch filthy rags, so the Lord won't touch sin.
Now, there is nothing wrong with this interpretation; God's view of sin is being touched on in these words, but the two-chapter context is super important.
Isaiah is asking the Lord in chapter 64 how long He will continue to torment the Israelites. In so doing, he acknowledges the sin of the Israelites, explaining that even the good things they do are as filthy rags.
But when the Lord answers that He will not keep silent and MUST torment the Jews because of their sin, he explains that this is because their sin is actually a little worse than an uncomfortable dirty rag. Indeed, their sin is like smoke in His nose. Yup. In Isaiah 65:2-5, the Lord says,
"I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day."
That kinda explains a little bit better why God cannot tolerate sin, and almost makes you wonder why He tolerated sin for so long in the first place, but alas, that is what He did for the Israelites in delaying the captivity, and what He does for us today as He gives a time for redemption.
All while dealing with the smoke in His nose that is our sinfulness.