“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8).
The 6th chapter of Isaiah describes the call of Isaiah to be a prophet and to serve God. The chapter begins with an awesome vision he has of God: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). He sees seraphim, proclaiming, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ (Isaiah 6:2-4). What an awesome sight to behold! I can only imagine what Isaiah must have felt. As we consider God’s call to Isaiah to serve Him as His prophet to His people Israel, there are some lessons for us to learn about our service to God.
First, he felt completely inadequate and unworthy as he looked at himself: “So I 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" (Isaiah 6:5). One of the seraphim then flew and touched Isaiah’s mouth with a “live coal” and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged” (Isaiah 6:7). Isaiah was to serve God in spite of his feeling inadequate in himself for the task.
Second, Isaiah was being called to serve God in spite of the great unlikelihood of what most people would consider “success”. As soon as Isaiah says, “Here I am. Send me”, God says, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10). God tells Isaiah upfront that the people to whom he is prophesying are not going to respond favorably to His message. Isaiah was to keep prophesying until Israel’s land was laid waste in God’s judgment against them; yet, in His grace and mercy, God would spare a remnant through whom He would send His Son to give the opportunity for all men to be saved from their sins (Isaiah 6:11-14).
Finally, Isaiah was to serve God in hope and trust in the Lord’s promises. Isaiah’s wife bears him two sons, Shear-Jashub (i.e. meaning “A Remnant Shall Return”) and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (i.e. meaning “Speed the Spoil, Hasten the Booty”) whose names describe the essence of Isaiah’s ministry as he proclaims Israel’s coming punishment for her sins and how only a remnant of God’s people will remain following God’s judgment against them. In a great response of faith, Isaiah says, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion” (Isaiah 8:16-18). Even though Isaiah knew his ministry would not be viewed as a “success” in the eyes of the world, he was going to serve God in hope and trust in God’s promises.
As I consider Isaiah’s call to his ministry, I am reminded that God calls me to serve in spite of my own inadequacies and whether or not my service to Him will be viewed as a “success” by the world’s standards. He asks me to just serve Him in hope and trust in His promises. Today, I find encouragement from Isaiah’s call to ministry as I go forth to serve the Lord!
“His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'” (Matthew 25:21).