Lesson 2 Summer Quarter
Lesson Text: Isaiah 6:1-8
Golden Text: Isaiah 6:3
Our lesson this week is going to take a look at the call of the prophet, Isaiah. Again, we are taking a look at a lesson within a unit of lessons that is titled “Faithful to Serve”. Isaiah is a very well known prophet with a prophecy that not only included what would happen to Israel and Judah, but a prophecy that spoke of Christ and even into the distant future with the redemption of all believers. Our lesson this week is being taught from Isaiah 6:1-8.
Isaiah Commissioned by God
Isaiah’s commission is one that is well known, especially by those that have been called to preach. There are times when I will bring up Isaiah’s call solely because of the vision of God’s throne and all that is around it; we will get a picture of that in our lesson this week as well.
Let us also recall that to be commissioned is to be authorized to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another. As a child of God, we have been commissioned by Christ – that is authorized – to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19-20). So, we as genuine believers, act as ambassadors of the Lord by ministering the good news among the world.
Time of Isaiah’s call
Like we saw in Samuel’s call last week, the time frame of Isaiah’s commission is given to us in scripture. We are told in the opening verse of this chapter that a vision was given to Isaiah in the year that King Uzziah died (v.1).
Uzziah was a king of Judah, the southern kingdom, and we are told that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Chr. 26:4). His reign began when he was 16 years old and it lasted for 52 years (2 Chr. 26:3). Uzziah’s death was a sad and tragic one in that pride got the best of this good king as it caused him to transgress against God (2 Chr. 26:16); he ended up dying as a leper because of that transgression (2 Chr. 26:21).
The time frame of Uzziah’s death came at a time where there were a few more good kings that followed him. However, the tide was certainly beginning to shift for Judah as Judah was going to begin to follow in the error of their brothers in the northern kingdom. So, as we saw with Samuel, the Lord was raising up a prophet to meet the coming time.
The vision of Isaiah
In the year Uzziah died, Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The train of the Lord’s robe, we are told, filled the temple. I believe that the vision Isaiah had was actually a vision of the Lord on His throne in heaven. Now, I do not believe Isaiah saw God in His true form because as we have studied before in the past, nobody can see the true form of God without dying (Ex. 33:20).
I further believe that this vision was of God in heaven because seraphim, a group of heavenly angels, are also shown in the temple hovering above God’s throne. With their faces covered, we are told that the seraphim sang out praises to the Lord. They sang out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory (vss.2-3).”
So, I don’t believe this vision of Isaiah took place in Solomon’s temple or another temple of the world. This vision was one of majesty and holiness! We are told that the cry of the seraphim was so great that they shook the doorposts of the temple (v.4)! So, the praise of God from the seraphim was massive; that’s the only word I can come up with to describe it.
Isaiah tells us that he was left undone – in total awe – of what he had seen! Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (v.5).” I tell you, this vision was a vision that would leave all of us speechless!
This vision was a vision that really does put us, mankind, in our place. We, mankind, are not at the same level as God, the Almighty Creator. Some would love to believe that they are on the same level of God but His thoughts are higher and far from ours (Is. 55:8-9).
In a psalm of David, David wrote that the Lord is in His holy temple and that His throne is in heaven (Ps. 11:4). Later on in the book of Isaiah, we will see the Lord say through the prophet, “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool (Is. 66:1).” Isaiah understood this very well through his vision; he realized just how lowly and undeserving he was because he was a sinner that dwelt in sin.
Prepared to prophecy
This is a realization that every true believer comes to and honestly, it is this realization that makes me lean more on the Lord. You see, this is a vision that humbles us and should give one the desire to be holy like the Lord. If we desire to be holy like the Lord, then we must go before Him and allow Him to touch us (work on us).
At the realization of who and what he was, Isaiah tells us that one of the seraphim flew to him with a live coal from the altar and touched his mouth with it (vss.6-7). Now, this actually brings up an interesting point that I did not touch on from a few verses ago. When the seraphim had song praises to the Lord, we are told that the temple was filled with smoke. It is likely that this smoke came from the altar that the seraphim grabbed the live coal from.
The touching of Isaiah’s mouth with the coal, the seraphim tells him, took away his iniquity. The seraphim said to Isaiah, “and your sin purged.” So, Isaiah was now made fit to do the work of the Lord.
Something I said a few months ago when I was preaching about being a vessel of the Lord is that one cannot truly be a vessel of the Lord unless they have been made ready by God. We must be sanctified – that is to say spiritually cleansed – by the Lord in order to be used by the Lord. In order for us to be sanctified, we must be sanctified through the blood of Jesus.
So, for Isaiah, Jesus had not yet shed His blood so there was no way for him to be sanctified by the blood of Jesus. The taken of the coal from this heavenly altar was a means to sanctify – cleanse – Isaiah so that the Lord could use him
Accepting the call
Now, in order to be used by the Lord, one has to also be open to receiving His call. There are some who hear the call of the Lord and choose to ignore it – reject it. Some who hear the call of the Lord do their best to dodge it and run away. I would suggest that when the Lord calls on you, pick up His call!
Notice that the Lord asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Essentially, the Lord was asking Isaiah if he desired to be used by the Lord. You see, some have been sanctified by the Lord but aren’t ready to be used; they don’t answer the call. So, we must be both fit and ready to be used by the Lord.
Isaiah was ready! Isaiah, we will see, responded, “Here am I! Send me.” This is why preachers know this passage of scripture so well. I remember my dad preached a sermon from this passage of scripture when I was a little boy; it was titled, “Send Me, I Will Go”. Later in his life, I remember my dad telling me that we have to be careful when we tell the Lord this.
My dad told me this because the task that the Lord has for us is not necessarily going to be an easy one to take on. In fact, if you take a look at the lives of the prophets and the apostles, their lives were not all that glamorous. I think about Elijah and how much depression he ended up fighting because he felt all alone. Jeremiah had the same issue as he dealt with the feeling of being hated.
James was killed. Peter was crucified upside down. Paul was beheaded. John ended up living on an island in isolation when he received the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though their lives were like this, these servants of the Lord readily accepted the call of God and they were, and will be greatly blessed in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom. You and I today, will be blessed while we are in this world and will most definitely be blessed when we leave this world for God’s kingdom when we accept the call.