29 May 2022 PM – Isaiah 6:1-13 – Missions – Scott Childs
Introduction: [CHART] By the time Isaiah came on the scene, the northern kingdom (Israel) was rapidly in decline, only a few years away from captivity. The southern kingdom (Judah) was heading in the same direction. Uzziah had been a good king most of his 52-year reign as king, but when he became proud of his might, he burned incense in the temple and God struck him with leprosy until he died. In the year that Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the vision described in this chapter.
Whether this was Isaiah’s call into the ministry or a subsequent call to encourage him in the face of opposition, it is difficult to say. Either way, it contains principles for our benefit.
Isaiah saw, probably in a vision, the Lord sitting upon his heavenly throne and his train filled the temple (v.1). His train speaks of his long robe. Above the Lord stood two seraphims, each with six wings (v.2). These seraphims called to each other, proclaiming the holiness of God (v.3). Their voices of praise caused the posts of the doors to shake, and God’s glory filled the house with smoke.
This vision of the holiness of God brought fearful conviction to Isaiah, as it revealed his sinfulness compared with God’s holiness. Isaiah is not alone in this response of being in God’s presence. Adam and Eve hid (Gen 3:8). Jacob was afraid (Gen 28:16-17). Gideon was afraid (Judg 6:22). Manoah and his wife feared death (Judg 13:22). Balaam fell down (Num 24:4). On Judgment day, every unbeliever will fall down in fearful respect before the Lord Jesus (Php 2:11-12). The clearer we see God’s holiness, the greater our fear of God will become.
Transition: In response to this vision, Isaiah had five responses that reveal how we ought to respond to God’s call.
1. Isaiah humbled himself before God (v.5-7)
a. He cried over his sinfulness
1) He could have gloated in his awesome privilege to see the vision, but he did not do that.
2) He humbly cried, “Woe is me!” This is a passionate cry of grief. He had a great sense of his sin and unworthiness.
b. He confessed his failures
1) He feared because he was undone or doomed. The word means to be cut off, to be destroyed or to perish.
2) He confessed that he had unclean or impure lips.
3) He admitted that he lived among people with unclean lips.
4) His cry and confession were the result of his eyes seeing the King, the LORD of hosts.
c. God cleansed his lips
1) One of the seraphims touched his lips with a live coal from the altar.
2) God took away his iniquity and purged his sin. Cleansing is a work of God. Our part is to confess. God’s part is to clean. Solomon said that when we confess and forsake sin, we will receive God’s mercy (Pr 28:13).
2. Isaiah heard the call of God (v.8)
a. He heard the voice of God
1) With a clean heart, he was now in a position to hear God speak.
2) As long as we give sin a place in your hearts and minds, God will not hear us, and we will not hear God.
b. He heard the burden of God
1) He heard God say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
2) God’s burden was for someone He could send on a mission and for someone who would go.
3) Occasionally in the Bible, God in the form of an angel took a message to men. Other times He sent special angels on that mission. However, most of the time, God chose men to take his message to others.
4) One of the greatest needs in our day is for men who will humble themselves before God and confess their sin, so they can hear God’s call.
a) God’s call is not a call to prosperity, wealth, ease, pleasure or worldly success. It is a call to surrender and sacrifice.
b) Fewer young people today are humble, clean and listening for God’s call than perhaps any time in history. When I graduated from Bible College 42 years ago, a large percentage of my classmates were preparing to be pastors or missionaries. That is no longer the case in that Bible college today.
c) Materialism is now pulling prime young people away from serving God.
5) Oh that we might hear God say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
3. Isaiah volunteered his service (v.8)
a. He presented himself to God
1) Isaiah said, “Here am I”.
2) Other Bible men said the same words to God including Jacob (Gen 46:2), Moses (Exo 3:4), Samuel (1Sa 3:4).
3) When God calls us, let’s not be like Adam who hid from God’s call or like Jonah who fled from God’s call. Let’s have a humble, clean, listening heart and say with Isaiah, “Here am I.”
b. He then asked God to send him.
1) Isaiah said to God, “Send me!”
2) Interestingly, when Isaiah volunteered, he did not even know where God would send him or what he must do. God was looking for volunteers who would let Him plan their lives and decide the details.
3) Isaiah did not say, “What’s in it for me?” “How much does it pay?” “How much annual leave will I get?”
4) He volunteered to go for God, with no questions asked. You parents know the joy that you experience when one of your children volunteer to do a job for you. Imagine the joy God must feel when one of His children volunteers to serve Him!
5) God may not send you to the mission field or to pastor a church, but He will be glorified when you surrender and say, “Here am I Lord, I volunteer.”
4. Isaiah received God’s commissioning (v.9)
a. God gave him his marching orders
1) He was to “go”.
2) Serving the Lord always includes action. God saved us to serve, not to sit.
3) Often God’s commission requires that we step out of our comfort zone and learn to trust Him.
4) For you, God’s commission may be to go to your neighbour, to an unsaved friend, to a needy person, to Bible College to prepare for service, to pastor a church, or to go to a mission field.
b. God gave Isaiah his assignment
1) He was to “tell”. God had a difficult message for him to deliver to a difficult people.
2) His fellow countrymen had drifted away from God. They had become worldly in their associations, immoral in their actions, and idolatrous in their worship.
3) God told Isaiah that his audience would hear but not understand and see but not perceive. He would preach to a people who would reject his words.
4) Jewish tradition claims that Isaiah was one of the prophets mentioned in Hebrews 11:37 who was sawn asunder (i.e., cut in two with a saw).
5. Isaiah accepted God’s conditions (v.11-13)
a. He asked God, “How long”.
1) This was a legitimate question. He wanted to know how long he was to keep preaching the message that the people would reject.
2) God said he was to preach until judgment overtook the nation. He was to proclaim God’s truth until, like a tree, Judah would be cut down, leaving only the stump (v.13).
b. Isaiah made no objection.
Conclusion: If you are to hear God’s call, you must humbly confess your sin and listen for God to speak through the Holy Spirit’s conviction and His Word. Then volunteer to serve in any way God may desire. When God pricks your heart to serve Him, receive His commission and accept His conditions. As with Isaiah, God’s call may not be easy, but it will surely be rewarding. You will not regret answering, “Here am I, send me!”