OVERWHELMING ENCOUNTER

Opening Prayer

Lord God, as I come to your holy, perfect, inerrant Word, please speak to me today. Continue to change me, conforming me into the image of Christ.

Read ISAIAH 6

Isaiah’s Commission

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.[a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered:

“Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 6:10 Hebrew; Septuagint ‘You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; / you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ / 10 This people’s heart has become calloused; / they hardly hear with their ears, / and they have closed their eyes

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

‘O Jesus Christ, grow thou in me, / and all things else recede; … That I am nothing, thou art all, / I would be daily taught.’1

Think Further

Chapter 5 ended with a threat: an imminent Assyrian attack (and future Babylonian invasion?). Chapter 6 begins with a death – hardly a promising start. It marks a significant transition since King Uzziah had overseen great prosperity in his 52-year reign. The king is dead, long live The King, he who surpasses all other monarchs. He has no limitations in his might (all-mighty), his holiness (three times over, in verse 3), or the scope of his reign (the whole earth). The magnificent temple cannot contain him. Encountering his holiness means confronting our frailty and sinfulness. Isaiah is ‘undone’ and ‘dismantled.’2 He stands as a representative of a defiled nation, seemingly incapable of being the Lord’s servant. We have to examine any behavior that denies our God: ‘I hold this against you’ is the word to Revelation’s churches.3

We are incapable of being God’s true representatives and speaking his truth. The solution? God’s initiative in cleansing (v. 7). Such holiness is frightening, revealing our distance from God’s perfection, but ‘Merciful grace belongs as much to the essence of holiness as justice and purity.’4 Isaiah is restored to the unenviable task of speaking God’s truth. It will be a word of judgment and hardening; a protracted process of refining and pruning, before a stump remains to issue a shoot in the future (v. 13).5

Israel was meant to be a witness to truth and justice, reflecting the character of a holy God, but it knows neither the greatness of God nor its own uncleanness. The people could not be witnesses until they acknowledged both. Isaiah gets it and volunteers for the somewhat thankless task which will confirm some in their rebellion. It will be a long and painful road, but life will never be extinguished. God will not quench the flame, however low it flickers.

Apply

Could you gather with others to seek God and to acknowledge your part in society’s ills?

Closing prayer

Father, give me wisdom to judge my attitudes and actions rightly. Please give what I need to do your will and reflect your love in the world around me.

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by kingstar

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