Isaiah had this vision of God, and we have the details of the vision and his call in Isaiah Chapter 6.
He saw something of the holiness of God.
We seldom hear much about the holiness of Almighty God in these days
Isaiah heard the sounds of heaven.
He saw something of what was going on - like John in the Book of Revelation.
There was a sense of the holiness of God in the Temple, and Isaiah realised his own sinfulness - and we read of how he was suddenly forgiven.
Isaiah has a vision of himself – and his nation. He realised he was dirty – unclean – impure –ruined – I am done for!
Isaiah then has his sin dealt with – it was seared out of him. For us we need the blood of Jesus Christ to wash us and cleanse us. Sin can be dealt with in a second.
Isaiah then heard a voice - the voice of God - and he responded so positively.
Isaiah heard questions - and Isaiah dared to answer. He answered positively and immediately. This was the crux of his consecration and dedication and commitment.
We need clear convictions.
You could not get anything clearer than this - or with Paul.
These two men are so clear and simple and the detail is specific.
Paul was opposed, persecuted, imprisoned and hunted from the very beginning - and yet he saw people come to believe in Jesus - and his aim was continually to build up these people in the faith - to see them strong and growing and becoming mature disciples of Jesus – but there was also great hardship.
Paul was told that, at the very beginning - I will show him how much he must suffer for my name – that information was given as he was about to have his sight restored - and be baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. The essential details are found in Acts Chapter 9 – and we have them recounted in Chapters 22,26. Paul never moved away from the account of how he was born again.
But back to Isaiah - God tells Isaiah that when he goes - his ministry humanly speaking will be a failure.
In the eyes and values of men - in the way men judge success – Isaiah will be no success.
This is a preacher's, prophet's, pastor's constant frustration, and this can try and test a man's enthusiasm.
It is possible to preach and teach - and you wonder - you wonder how many have heard what God is saying.
God goes on to say to Isaiah - "Your preaching will make people worse - the more you preach, the less they will believe. Isaiah - Preach - Prophesy - but few will listen - nevertheless, Preach and Prophesy."
They will not listen - nor receive the Word you speak. There will be little response. They will become harder - deaf - and blind - spiritually. Extraordinary!
The Word of God either softens you or hardens you. It will be doing one of these things in your heart and mind just now, as you read this article.
The Word of God either blesses people or annoys people – now, that can be through preaching and teaching - living a prophetic life - or by witnessing and testifying.
As people hear this Book, they are either flooded with the love and mercy and peace and grace and goodness of God - or they are infuriated by its teaching.
Isaiah had the sad experience of seeing this as he proclaimed the Word of God in Jerusalem - as people became harder and harder.
And yet, to those who believe in Jesus and love this Word - and who are seeking to walk in the light of Jesus Christ - these words become more precious than gold.
This passage is taken up some six times in the New Testament -
- Matthew 13 verses 13 to 17, where Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6.
- John 12 verse 40 - Jesus again quoting from Isaiah 6.
- Acts 28 verses 25 to 27 where Paul nearing the end of his exciting and demanding ministry turns to these words of Isaiah.
- Isaiah asks God - For how long is this going to be my ministry? Lord, how long have I to go on like this?
And the answer comes from God - "until the land lies waste and the cities desolate - for 40 years - until you lose virtually all your congregation - and dear Isaiah, you will see people go further and further from Me, even until this place is desolate."
Now remember too, that the services in the Temple were well attended at that time - but they were empty of spiritual content and relevance.
Even when God spoke to people and continues to speak to people - and invites them to come for cleansing and forgiveness and healing - even when Jesus does all this and so much more - some are determined not to come to God.
Isaiah is standing there in the Temple - asking these vital questions - looking up to this vision of God - and God shows him a stump.
The land has been devastated - overcome - conquered - but a stump remains.
Isaiah never forgot this - it coloured and influenced his whole ministry.
Isaiah remembered what God had shown him in the Temple on this occasion.
Isaiah knew - that with Uzziah dead - the Living God was still on the Throne - and one day He would put things right - and HE did.
From the very ruins of Israel - something will appear and grow - Someone will come - even from a cut down stump. Jesus Christ the Saviour will appear.
Out of this most moving - and darkest - passage in this Book, there shines shafts of light and hope.
What a challenge from The Word of God to remain faithful to God - no matter what is going on around us - no matter what we are experiencing.
This experience in the temple coloured and influenced the whole of his life and the rest of his life. What or who is influencing your life – what is who is colouring your life?
Isaiah is given a vision of God.
Isaiah is given a vision of himself.
Isaiah is given a vision of a waiting world.
In these perilous days – is God giving you a vision – a vision of His glory and mercy and grace and love and holiness.
Is God giving you a vision of yourself – and your need – but knowing that Jesus Christ has the answer to that need?
Is God giving you a vision of a waiting world – and if so – what are you going to do about it?
“Our loving God – speak to me from the Scriptures – speak that Word which I need to hear today – and at this time. Speak a Word that is clear and sustaining and strengthening. Speak a Word which I can hear - and speak - and share with others – in Jesus Name. Amen.
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