Moses received God’s call at a burning bush (Exodus 3). Jeremiah heard God tell him that he had been chosen from the womb (Jeremiah 1:4-10). Ezekiel experience an incredible vision while he was in exile in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:4-3;27). Isaiah received his vision in the temple, but in his vision the temple was transformed into the throne room of heaven itself.
Verse 1 – 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.
King Uzziah had been a relatively good king, though he did not remove the high places (where pagan idols were worshiped). His death, coupled with the rise of Assyria, created uncertainty in Judah.
Isaiah had a hard mission of telling the people: Instead of them being blessed by God, which they thought because of all their prosperity, that they were going to be destroyed because of disobedience.
Isaiah sees the manifestation of Yahweh in the person of the Messiah, revealed seated in glory, from whom he now received a new commission to go out and proclaim the truth to that wicked rebellious nation.
Verse 2 – Above it stood Seraphim; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Verse 3 – And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
The Seraphim are angelic creatures of great power and importance. Their name means “burning ones.” They covered their faces in reverence and to shield them from the brilliance of the divine glory. Covering the feet perhaps was in showing submission.
Verse 4 – And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
There was a tremor as if in awe. This was used often as a reference to “the cloud” which is the visible symbol of the Divinity – God’s presence.
Verse 5 – Then 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.”
In the presence of such holiness, Isaiah felt the weight of his own sinfulness.
Verse 6 – Then one of the Seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
Verse 7 – And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched our lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged.”
For those of you who are young to reading scripture, iniquity is sin, wickedness and evil. Fire purifies, so when the Seraphim touched Isaiah’s lips to purge, it was because God was going to use Isaiah’s mouth!
But for us as Christians, when we come into God’s presence, we have been purified by Christ’ blood that was shed for our sins.
Verse 8 – And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Verse 9 – And He said, “Go, and tell this people: Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. (This is a prediction of how the people would perceive Isaiah’s message from God.)
Because they had acted in rebellion and disobedience towards God, their hearts had hardened and when a heart becomes hardened, it lacks understanding.
Verse 10 – “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy , and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”
Did you catch that? Return to Him and be healed! God is always stretching out His mighty hand to us to come to Him for everything we need. He’s got enough love to heal you right where you are!
God told Isaiah the people would listen but not learn from his message because their hearts had become hardened – they would not repent. So why do you think God would even bother to send Isaiah? Because, although the entire nation would not repent individuals would.
Verse 11 – Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate,
Verse 12 – The Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
Verse 13 – But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump.”
God told Isaiah there would be a tenth, remnant would survive. They would be pictured as a stump that is left after a mighty tree is cut down.
How many times do people hear God’s message of love and yet are not willing to follow Him? Here’s what happens when someone continually rejects the message of Christ: Their hearts will become hardened toward the things of God.
God doesn’t tell us to clean ourselves up before coming to Him. He cleans us up from the inside out through the blood of His Son and then places His Spirit on the inside of those who believe and receive. However, some will not listen because they are not willing to let go of things in this world that entangle them in sin. This is exactly what Israel had done. They had heard the prophet time and again, but yet they ignored “hearing” him. They find pleasure in sin and they think that is what makes them happy. Happiness is only temporary, but the joy of the Lord will last throughout eternity!