Isaiah 6:1-13 – The Call of the Prophet Isaiah

Christian MölkIsaiah Leave a Comment

Isa 6:1

  1. Uzziah, or Azariah as he is sometimes called, was king of Judah for 52 years between about 792-740 BC (2 Chron 26, 2 Kings 15:1-7).
    1. Uzziah was only 16 years old when he became king over Judah, and generally receives a very good report from God:”3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecholah, and she was from Jerusalem. 4He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5He consulted God all the days of Zechariah, who taught him to understand God’s visions. As long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him. “(2Chronicles 26:3-5)
      1. It is worth noting that as long as Uzziah “sought the Lord, God prospered him”. Being anointed king or some spiritual office does not automatically mean that all goes well. Good spiritual leadership is based on trying to live a righteous life to the best of one’s ability and seeking the Lord.
    1. At the end of Uzziah’s reign, he made a fatal mistake: “16 But when Uzziah had strengthened his power, his heart became haughty, to his own ruin. He acted unfaithfully to the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. “(2Chronicles 26:16)
      1. Although Uzziah ruled Judah for the most part in a godly and good way, unfortunately it did not end quite so well. Uzziah became arrogant and went into the temple of the Lord and burned incense, even though only priests were allowed to do this. As a result, God let leprosy strike Uzziah and he had to live the rest of his days in an isolated house. (2Chronicles 26:16-21)
  2. This important chapter of Isaiah begins by stating that a righteous king, who sinned at the end of his life, has now died.
    1. You get a sense of uncertainty about the future. Who will rule the kingdom of Judah now? If even a righteous king can fall into sin, who will be a good next king?
      1. Similarly, a congregation today can suffer from uncertainty and discouragement if the pastor of the congregation or some other leader suddenly leaves or falls into sin. Was everything he did wrong? What happens now? Who will lead the congregation back on the right track?
  3. While Isaiah notes that King Uzziah has died, he sees the Lord God sitting on the throne in heaven! In the midst of all the uncertainty, discouragement and confusion, Isaiah sees that God is still in power.
    1. Some people believe that there is no faith in heaven, that there is no God who has power and to whom we humans are accountable.
    1. Other people think there is a throne, but that they themselves are sitting on it! They think they can do whatever they want without God having any opinion about it.
    1. However, the Bible is clear that there is a throne in heaven and it is the Lord God who sits on the throne! We humans are right to confess that God exists and that he has power, both in the whole universe and in our hearts.

Isa 6:2

  1. To look into heaven and describe what you see, like Isaiah and even the apostle John in Revelation chapter 4, is about as difficult as it is for a fish looking up at the surface of the water to describe what is happening on land. It is a very different world that is difficult for us humans to understand.
  2. The seraphim are some kind of angelic creatures who worship the Lord day and night without ceasing (Rev 4).
  3. The seraphim covered their face and feet with four of their wings and flew with two.
    1. Because of God’s holiness, being in God’s presence is an incredibly powerful experience. Seeing God is like staring into the sun, and the seraphim cover their faces in order to be in God’s presence at all without perishing.
      1. God says to Moses, “20 But you cannot see my face, for no man can see me and live. ” (Exodus 33:20)
    1. Covering one’s feet shows respect for God. Just as you take off your shoes when you enter someone else’s house because it would be disrespectful to just barge into someone’s home with dirty shoes, so the seraphim cover their feet to show God respect.
      1. 5 Then God said, “Don’t come here! Take off your shoes, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”” (Exodus 3:5)
    1. The seraphim confessed God’s holiness and their own humility with four of their wings, and used two wings to serve the Lord. It’s a good balance that we should learn from. We serve God best when we humbly recognize our own smallness and confess God’s greatness.

Isa 6:3-4

  1. To confess that God is holy three times is partly a reference to God’s trinity, but above all it is a Hebrew way of expressing God’s immense holiness. If in English we would say “most holy”, in Hebrew we say “holy, holy, holy” instead.
  2. On the day we come face to face with God, we will first of all be amazed at God’s holiness, not necessarily God’s kindness, or any of God’s other attributes.

Isa 6:5

  1. If Isaiah, who was a prophet and a man of God, realizes his own impurity when he encounters the holiness of God, how should we respond?
  2. Isaiah, in the presence of God, cannot even utter one of the seraphim’s beautiful confessions of God’s holiness, but instead experiences his own shortcomings and his own impermanence. As good and righteous as Isaiah was, he was nothing compared to God.
    1. Even if you’ve had a good tan and are really happy with it, you’ll still realise you’re a paleface when you get to the beach and compare yourself to everyone else. In the same way, Isaiah may have been a holy man of God compared to most of the others in Israel, but compared to God’s holiness, he has nothing to offer.
    2. No matter how good we humans are at living righteously and doing good deeds, we will never be able to boast about it in the presence of God. We can only rely on God’s grace if we are to survive an encounter with God’s holiness. If we believe in Jesus, we have the promise of grace and eternal life with the Lord God in heaven.

Isa 6:6-7

  1. The glowing coals that the seraphim brought from God’s altar were so hot that the angel had to use tongs. With this tremendous heat, the coal touched Isaiah’s lips, one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. Isaiah, however, does not seem to have felt any pain or burns.
  2. The glowing coals burned away Isaiah’s sin. Of course, this was a symbolic act. To think that one’s sin is forgiven by burning one’s mouth with hot coals is not to be recommended.

Isa 6:8

  1. The prophet Isaiah received this call to ministry in chapter six, when he had already prophesied for five chapters. This shows us that God can lead us on or give us a new calling even if we have been in the Church all our lives or already have a ministry.
  2. Despite God’s immense power and holiness, he asks for volunteers to carry out his mission. Couldn’t he just send an angel to proclaim his will for Israel and humanity? Well, theoretically they could, but God has given that mission to us humans. We as Christians have a mission and a missionary mandate to fulfill, and we should not think that anyone else will do it unless we do it.
    1. As a pastor, it can sometimes be very easy to decide that we as a congregation should do this and that, but if you can’t find volunteers who want to do this mission, then it can’t be done. Therefore, it is better to ask those who wholeheartedly want to serve the Lord and then carry out the mission together with them. It is not possible to force someone to do something voluntarily, because then it is no longer voluntary.
  3. Serving God as a preacher, missionary, pastor, leader, or as in Isaiah’s case; prophet, means both that you are sent by God, but also that you have decided to go.
  4. Isaiah responds immediately to God’s call and is eager to volunteer! What created this attitude in Isaiah? Well, he had first met God, secondly been convicted of his sin, thirdly been reconciled to God, and now fourthly is ready to serve the Lord.
  5. An important aspect of Isaiah’s response to God’s call is that he did not go his own way, but waited for God to send him.

Isa 6:9-13

  1. God told Isaiah to preach to a people who would neither understand nor comprehend. The reason for this was that God would judge Israel for their disobedience and rebellion. Israel’s negative response to Isaiah’s prophetic preaching then becomes a confirmation that Israel does not listen to the Lord and will consequently be judged by God.
  2. When the word of God is preached, it always has an effect, whether it is received or rejected. Had Israel listened to the Lord and turned back, they could have been healed, understood in their hearts, heard with their ears and seen with their eyes.
  3. God’s judgment on his disobedient people in Judah came a number of years later when Judah was defeated by Babylon and sent into exile.
  4. Even if almost everyone in Judah disobeyed and would not listen to Isaiah, there would be a small, small remnant left; a small stump, which listened to God’s word and was preserved by the Lord.
Share & Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *