1: “In the year that King Uzziah died.” – King Uzziah’s reign had been a prosperous one for Israel but many people had turned from God and ominous things lay ahead. His death from leprosy, a sign of God’s disfavor, was caused by not listening to his priests and for allowing practices of idol worship to flourish. The Assyrian armies were massing on the borders and Israel was about to feel the full vengeance of God for their sins.
1b: “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty.” – Isaiah’s image of God was one of royalty, greatness and power; a ruler sitting on a majestic throne ready to serve justice and administer punishment.
5: “And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips…” – Through the praise of the angels proclaiming God’s holiness, Isaiah realized that he was unworthy to be in His presence.
7: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” – In order to be worthy and holy so that we can stand before God, our sins need to be forgiven and forgotten…Christ has become the “living coal” that touches our lips and erases our sins.
8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’” – Notice how Isaiah’s call into ministry was not a command from God; rather it was a plea of woe and sadness filled with worry and fear.
8b: “And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’” – Isaiah steps forward and answers the call with no hesitation.
Points to Contemplate:
What is your image of God?
How does your concept of the greatness of God measure up to Isaiah’s? Does He sit on a throne “high and lofty,” ready to administer and judge? Do you see Him more as a fatherly image, loving and caring, where you can sit on His lap and feel His arms around you? Or has He become “domesticated” into a god of your own making? Do you see the danger of creating a god to suit your needs and your image? How can we relate to God on one hand if He is too holy and unreachable and yet, how can we respect Him if He becomes too average and normal? Are you able to keep the holy and majestic nature of God alive in your image of Him?
Are you unworthy? Sinful? Unclean? Do you see how important it is in our relationship with God to come to a clear understanding of our sinfulness? It was the first thing that came to mind for Isaiah as he viewed His Lord. Do you see that the acts of repentance and forgiveness must take place before we can truly grow close to God? Does this reveal to you the importance of Christ in our lives? How His atonement for our sins has paved a pathway to the Holy Presence of God?
Do you hear God’s call for you? Do you see that He is simply asking each of us to answer that call? “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah did not ask where or what. He did not involve himself with the specifics. He did not offer advice. He stepped forward and said: “Here am I; send me!” Can you respond in the same way?
What does it mean to you "to be called?" Do you need clarification? "Where am I going?" is an important question; a question of planning, direction, and goals, but it is a question Isaiah never asked. Isaiah just said, 'Send me. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter when. Here am I, send me.' Promises of the Gospel:
Isaiah had a “God-moment” and through that experience his life was changed forever. Isaiah’s experience outlines and details the important steps that need to be taken by each of us in order to fully experience the Holiness of God. First we need to believe that God is present in our lives. The next step is the need to come into terms with our sins and repent. Through Christ’s love and with our repentance those sins are forgiven and “blotted out.” Finally, because we have been sanctified, we learn to recognize God’s call and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are able to boldly step forward and say: “Here am I, Lord; send me!”