In the year that King Uzziah died, 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.”
Then one of the seraphim 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.”
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!”
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.”
Then I said, “For how long, 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. 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.”
Sometimes it takes the fear of God to move a person. Not that Isaiah wasn’t already receiving visions, but so much of what was coming to him was a burden it seems, and may have discouraged him so much that God wanted to confirm His choice of Isaiah. To comfort him, and to convince him to to quicken and establish him in his commission to prophecy.
Notice the reverence Isaiah displays, and even though he’d already been receiving visions, he realizes his unworthiness to be a voice of the Lord. And yet, God gives him assurance of salvation and cleansing of sin. Matthew Henry’s commentary describes this verse,
The angels had celebrated the purity and holiness of God; and therefore the prophet, when he reflects upon sin, calls it uncleanness; for the sinfulness of sin is its contrariety to the holy nature of God, and upon that account especially it should appear both hateful and frightful to us. The impurity of our lips ought to be the grief of our souls, for by our words we shall be justified or condemned.
While those of us who are born again in the spirit and saved by grace won’t face condemnation of the Judgment, we will have to give an account, even for our words. Isaiah realized this, but sometimes I think some Christians take it for granted that while we are saved and washed in the blood we can approach the Lord often times as children approach a parent or a friend. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that God is still awesomely Holy, and we should be reverent of that Holiness and respect His place as Almighty God.
“Whom shall I send? Whom shall go for us?” It’s not as if God is asking anyone this question, or even needs to. He knows already. But this is God honoring the mission, agreeing in all Three Holy Persons of the person who is trusted enough with the message.
This is Isaiah’s commission to Go, and he is willing, even though the message is a lament, pleading and will be largely ignored. He knows it will be difficult and pretty much “unsuccessful” and yet he does offer anyway.
I am reminded by reading this chapter of Christ’s Commission to all of us who are believers. Jesus didn’t ask, who will go, He said “Go”
We who follow Jesus know that most of the world is at odds with us, and those who share the gospel will have some success maybe in leading or helping someone to Christ. But for a majority, there will be mockers, and many indifferent… and ignored. But we must still follow Isaiah’s example and go anyway. Whether to the other side of the world, across the country, or to your neighbors. Romans 10:14 reminds us, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
We’re not all evangelists or preachers, but we all know the gospel. And though we have not seen God in His glory on His throne in heaven, we all have been given the commission.
Have a blessed day all!