In our study of Isaiah chapter six, we look at God's calling and plan for Isaiah. We will look at how God can take a humble yet willing servant and use him in a mighty way. We see that God has the power and authority to use whomever He chooses and that He prepares those that He calls.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, 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.'
God calls to Isaiah in a vision that includes God sitting on his throne in heaven. The train of his robe fills the temple so that there is no room for anything else to be worshiped. Isaiah sees seraphs which are unearthly beings that serve God in heaven. These are very similar if not the same creatures that are described by John in Revelation 4. As in the book of Revelation, the seraphs are proclaiming the holiness of God. Through this vision, God was allowing Isaiah to see that God is set apart (holy) and in charge. A part of that holiness is the fact that He can use whoever He chooses to accomplish His purposes.
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
What a vision of power as the temple is shaking and filled with smoke simply by the voices of God's servants. Meanwhile, God is calmly sitting on his throne. When our situations seem difficult and it seems like chaos and trouble are all around, we can take comfort in this vision and realize that God is in control.
'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.'
The result of seeing God on his throne is that Isaiah is humbled. He saw his sinfulness and knew that it did not belong in the presence of God. This is the starting point for anyone that wants to serve the Lord, in that, we must realize that we are not worthy on our own.
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, 'See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.'
As fire is the way of purification, the coal was used to purify the mouth of Isaiah. After purification, he is ready to be used by God.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'
Now that Isaiah's mouth has been purified, he can be used for God's purposes. When God asks, Isaiah answered the call to ministry. This same pattern occurs in believers today as they grow in Christ. God purifies us from sin, through the blood of Jesus Christ, and then he calls us to service. The service does not provide us with eternal life but it is just a natural expression of love and thanks when we are saved and freed from the trap of sin and death. As with Isaiah, God has a plan for each and every one of us and, when he calls, our answer should be the same: "Here am I. Send me!"
He said, 'Go and tell this people: "Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."'
At first reading this passage may seem like God does not want his people to turn to him but that is not the case. In the Septuagint, it is worded different and it is clear that God is telling Isaiah that the people are already the way that is described. God is explaining to Isaiah the condition of the people and preparing him for his work.
Then I said, 'For how long, O Lord?' And he answered, 'Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.'
Isaiah asked God how long he was going to have to speak to a people that were not going to listen. God's answer wasn't exactly uplifting as he describes the exile of the people from the land. Sometimes, we may have the same type of experience as Christians proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are people that may never listen and be saved but we still must continue to proclaim just as Isaiah did.
'And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.'
God is speaking to Isaiah here and gives a word of hope as he describes the remnant that will remain. He likens it to cutting down a tree and leaving a stump.