ISAIAH 6:8: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Here I am! Send me? Have you ever uttered or prayed those words? I know that I have, and then I have found myself doubting the pathway that the Lord placed me on. Have you ever thought of Isaiah’s call from the Lord? It begins with a glorious revelation of the throne of God, His Glory, and the worship that is proceeding around the throne (also see Revelation 4). Recognizing his sin, Isaiah cries out that he is a man of unclean lips. The Lord sends one of the four living creatures to touch his lips with one of the coals from the altar to cleanse Isaiah, and then asks – “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
I can imagine standing in the very place that Isaiah stood. Amazed by the Glory of God. Overcome by the Grace of God. Surely His calling is one to abide in His Glory and do something really important! Yet, that was not God’s call for Isaiah. God’s call for Isaiah was to pronounce God’s judgment upon Judah and to call them back to repentance. It was not a glorious call. It was a difficult and costly call.
“And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10 ESV)
Isaiah was not any different than you and I. At first he gladly accepts this call. However, seeing the difficulty of it he naturally asks the Lord – “How long?” We all want to know what is down the road a piece. The Lord does not always give us that information, and this is many times for our great benefit. However, for Isaiah He does. And this is what the Lord told Isaiah.
“…And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.” (Isaiah 6:11-13 ESV)
This would be where I would start to negotiate with the Lord. This is not the calling you, I, or Isaiah would have imagined. Isaiah was called to proclaim the judgment of God against Judah, and to call Israel back to repentance, until the judgment of God was completed. There would be no great revival. There would be no great Hollywood ending. The ending was sure. The calling was clear. What would I have done if I were standing in Isaiah’s shoes?
Isaiah was faithful to God’s call. Faithfulness is a dwindling quality in today’s culture. The church has also bought into the Hollywood version of the Christian life. It is no longer a life that is marked by the Cross of Christ and our call to proclaim the Gospel. It has become a life that is marked by a crown before it is issued, a kingdom before it is established, and a reward before it is given. There will be a time when we receive our crown, when we enter into the fulfillment of His Kingdom, and when we receive our reward. Yet, the time now is to take up our cross and follow Him. The time now is to give all of our mind, will, and strength to fulfilling His call. The time now is to be like Isaiah!
Lord, grant me Your Grace to walk in faithfulness to Your calling today. Forgive me for the times that I have tried to negotiate Your call, or make it fit my own personal comforts desires. May I be faithful in all that You call me to be and to do – until You return!
In Jesus Name!