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Devotions > Called and Committed?

15 Feb 2014

When Isaiah was called by God to be His messenger, a prophet of God, his call from God came in these words, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"  Isaiah responded at once to God’s call by saying: “here am I send me.”   Isaiah’s call came immediately after God provided him with a vision of His immaculate holiness.

Henry Blackaby tells us …..  “the first thing you do after God has spoken to you is critical.”  Has God called you?

It is apparent from God’s call that Isaiah was to go representing the triune God to the people of God with a message from God.   However God made it clear to Isaiah before he began his ministry that most of these people would not listen and few would heed his words even though they were the very words of God.  Notice that God told Isaiah in effect that though he was called to proclaim truth to the people of God they would be slow of hearing and in fact would rebel against his words.

It is interesting to trace the cause and effect movements that are observable in Isaiah’s call and response.   We know that all activity of a positive spiritual nature is initiated by God.   Therefore we must assume that Isaiah arrived at the temple on this particular day specifically due to activity God had initiated or perhaps Isaiah’s response to some activity of God.

Secondly we can with significant confidence assume that Isaiah’s response to the work of God in His life was primarily a positive proposition.  Isaiah, it seems, is all in!   We can only come to this conclusion since God is not in the habit of providing visions of Himself and His amazing holiness to those who are not seeking God with their whole hearts. 

 Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB95) 
13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

The next thing we see …..  God providing for Isaiah a vision of Himself and the humanly observable extent of His holiness.   

Isaiah 6:1-4 (NASB95) 
In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 
Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 
And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." 
And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

Isaiah’s response is inevitable.  When exposed to the full extent of the holiness of God he saw clearly and perhaps for the first time the full extent of his personal sin.    When Isaiah started out his day and headed for the temple he likely had understated his sin.   But after his exposure to the holiness of God his sin was blatantly apparent to the extent that he cried out “woe is me I am undone.”

What are the dangers of understating our personal sin?   How do we avoid this tendency?   Perhaps we must seek to draw near to God and to His holy, holy, holy, holiness.   To consistently understate our personal sin is dangerous and will lead to without doubt elimination from the most effective and productive work for God’s kingdom.     Had Isaiah not cried out in repentance from the realization of his own sin, God surly would not have had the freedom to put into motion a solution to resolve his sin.

As soon as the words of repentance flooded from Isaiah’s lips, God quickly provided for the remission of Isaiah’s sin.   He directed that a hot coal be taken from the holy altar which was brought to Isaiah to burn away his sin. The fire of God’s holiness burns deep!

With Isaiah’s sin issue resolved God is now ready to issue to Isaiah his personal call … “ Whom can I send and who will go for us?”   In our earth bound thinking we seem to believe that when a man or woman of God is sent by God that their mission will be successful.   And of course it always will be so, except it may not be successful in the eyes of men.   With such powerful preparation and passionate participation we might assume that the ministry of Isaiah would simply sweep the land with power and transformation.   This was not the case.

However the impact of the ministry of Isaiah over the many hundreds of years since his prophecies were initially uttered is incalculably gigantic!   Yet in the eyes of the average pedestrian in Jerusalem in his time he was likely seen as a man who just did not understand the things and ways of his time.   He seemed to be always rubbing everyone the wrong way, predicting doom and gloom and destruction from God.

And then God directed Isaiah to say and write these words ….  Isaiah 53:2-12 (NASB95) 
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 
His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 
10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. 
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ God used His consecrated servant Isaiah to pull back the curtain and put on full display the most important most significant operation executed by God for all of mankind in all of eternity!  The great exchange!     Our sins exchanged for His perfect righteousness!   

So what is our response to this amazing act of love initiated by our God?   We see that Jesus will intercede for the transgressors.   Can we do less?

Jeff Williams