Isaiah- Session 2- Isaiah 6:1-13

Session 2- Calling

Isaiah 6:1-13

Lesson Resources:

Subject:  Calling

Central Theme:  Responding to God’s Calling

4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives

Keyword:  Attributes

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God. (v.1-4)

Attribute #2- God’s Forgiveness- A right view of self. (V.5-7)

Attribute #3- God’s Call- A right view of mission. (v.8)

Attribute #4- God’s Persistence- A right view of ministry. (v.9-13

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Has your life ever been changed by a phone call?
    • Maybe it was a doctor calling with a diagnosis.
    • Maybe it was a potential employer calling with a job offer.
    • Maybe it was a phone call asking someone on a date.
  • It’s amazing how things can change because of a call.

Tension:

  • When we talk about “calling” in the biblical sense, people can have a tendency to think of it as something that happens to people for vocational ministry.
  • There is a calling of God to vocational ministry, but that is not the only way that God calls.
  • We are all called “into ministry”. God saved us “unto good works”.  He has a plan for our lives to make us who He wants us to be so that we will do the works that He has called us to do.

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

  • In today’s text we see God calling Isaiah.
  • It’s a unique vision that Isaiah has of God.
  • I want you to see how God’s person and character impact our calling.
  • We want to respond to God’s calling in our lives.

Let’s look at 4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives.

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God. (v.1-4)

Isaiah 6:1-4 (1)  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  (2)  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  (3)  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  (4)  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Explanation:

  • We are given the specifics of a vision that Isaiah has of God in this passage.
  • People debate whether this passage deals with Isaiah’s initial call from God to be a prophet or if it is another call to a change in his mission.
  • Either way the vision is monumental.
  • Let’s think about the details we see in these four verses.
  • First of all, He sees the Lord sitting upon a throne. 
    • The throne is elevated as many earthly kings thrones are often placed.
    • He also sees his “train” that filled the temple.  The word for train here speaks to his royal robes.  He is regal and resplendent in majesty.
  • Secondly, He sees the seraphim above the throne.
    • The word seraphim means “fiery ones”.
    • They are standing “above the throne.
    • They are described as having faces, feet, and wings.
    • They had 3 pairs of wings.
      • One pair covered the face.
        • Some have said that this is a response to the glory of God.
      • The second pair covered their feet.
        • This could be a response of humility, understanding their own lowliness in the presence of such majesty.
      • The last pair were used to fly.
        • They are clearly there to praise and to serve as they call back and forth to one another.
        • Their praise was focused on the primary attribute of God, that is, His Holiness.
          • This is the attribute to which all of the others are connected.
        • They also proclaim that the “whole earth is full of His glory”.
          • The created world, even in its fallen state, points to the intelligence, power, majesty, and eternality of God.

 

  • Lastly, Isaiah saw the effects of God’s presence and His praise. 
    • The place was shaken.
      • The volume and veracity of what was being proclaimed was so intense that it shook the temple.
    • We also see that the “house was filled with smoke”.
      • In the scriptures smoke was often a reference to God’s presence.
      • Often, it was an indication of His anger and judgement.
      • Because of the message that He will give Isaiah to deliver, we can venture that this indication is correct.

Application:

  • A few responses are in order, but cannot exhaust all that could be said here.
  • The whole vision should enlarge our view of who God is. 
    • It has been said that if we see as He sees then we will do as He says.
    • God is infinite in His Holiness, His power, His righteousness and His majesty.
    • That He loves us is a good thing, because to stay His enemy would be most unfortunate.
  • Praise ought to be the fruit of our lives. 
    • Notice that the praise of the Seraphim was coming from an understanding of who God is, and from an understanding of who they were.
    • Without these two realities understood properly, an adequate proclamation of praise cannot be rightly executed.
    • This is why only the regenerated heart can rightly worship God.
    • We cannot worship God without first dealing with our sin, and acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord.

Response:

  • How large is your view of God?
  • Is praise the fruit of your life that flows from a proper understanding of who God is and who you are?

 

4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives:

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God.

Attribute #2- God’s Forgiveness- A right view of self.

 (5)  Then said I, 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 mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 6:5

Explanation:

  • Isaiah sees this incredible vision of the glory of God in verses 1-4.
  • The Holiness of God is declared, and the truth of His holiness shakes the place where Isaiah finds himself.  I notice three factors in this verse.
  • First, notice his confession. 
    • His immediate response is to confess his own sinfulness.
    • He declares that he is done for.
    • “Woe is me!”.  He feels almost hopeless because he can do nothing to expiate his guilt or the guilt of his people on his own.
  • Next, notice the contrast. 
    • There was a significant contrast between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of Isaiah and his people.
  • Finally, notice the chasm.
    • The contrast of God’s holiness and Isaiah’s sinfulness lead to an acknowledgement of the chasm between the perfect holiness of God and the sinful guilt of Isaiah and his people.
    • He describes his vision of God as King.  God is One in total authority.
    • He describes him as “Lord of hosts”.  The term “hosts” describes a mass of people, especially armies.
  • Isaiah’s proper and realistic view of God drove him to a fear of God, an understanding of the holiness of God, and then a confession of his own sinfulness.

Application:

  • We often excuse our own sin.  We minimize it.  We ignore it.
  • When we do this it is not good for us or those around us.
  • Whenever we sin we are forgetting the holiness and glory of God.
  • We need a higher view, a more biblical and realistic view, of who God is.
  • Our fear of the Lord must grow, for as we learned in Proverbs, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  • For us to turn away from sin we must adopt God’s view of himself, and God’s view of our sin.
  • We must confess our own sinfulness.
  • We must stop ignoring, excusing and minimizing our guilt.
  • Look at how God responds to confession.

Look at God’s forgiveness in response to Isaiah’s confession:

(6)  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  (7)  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  Isaiah 6:6-7

Explanation:

  • The seraphim are certainly the servants of God and do nothing without His say so.
  • They move at his command, and so they are not the source of the cleansing of the lips of Isaiah.
  • Isaiah had declared his sinfulness (v.5), and cited his lips as the main source of his iniquity.
  • The seraphim brought over this hot coal and made it to touch the lips of Isaiah, declaring that his sin was now purged.
  • There is no doubt that God is the one that did the cleansing and forgiving work in response to Isaiah’s confession.

 Application:

  • Authentic confession to God leads to forgiveness.  When we sincerely confess our sins to God He will forgive.

 Response:

  • Do you have sin to confess today?  Do it now!  God will forgive!

4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives:

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God.

Attribute #2- God’s Forgiveness- A right view of self.

Attribute #3- God’s Call- A right view of mission.

(8)  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  Isaiah 6:9-10

Explanation:

  • Do not let the sequence of events in Isaiah’s vision escape you.
    • Isaiah saw God in all his holiness.
    • This lead to him seeing himself and his people in all their sinfulness.
    • This lead to his confession, which lead to his cleansing.
    • Now that He had been cleansed there was a call.
  • Notice that the call came from God Himself.
  • Verse 8 contains God’s first words in the vision.
  • Notice both the words “I” and “us” in verse 8.
  • That the word “I” refers to God Himself is certain, but who is he referring to when he talks about “us”?
    • Some have said that the answer is referring to those present to whom he seeks council.  I do not think this is correct. Whose council, outside of the trinity, does God need?
    • I think that this word “us” is a reference to the Trinity.
    • You have the singular “I” and the plural “us” in the parallelism of the question.
    • “Who shall I send and who will go for us?”.  This is not referring to a need for two different people, but rather one.  There is one God and He exists in three persons, all co-equally God.
  • Now that Isaiah has a proper view of God, a proper view of Himself, and has been cleansed based on his confession, He is now able to respond to the call of God.
  • Look at Isaiah’s respond. “Here am I; send me”.  What an incredible way to respond to God’s calling.  It’s the only right way to respond to God’s calling.
  • “God, I’ll go!” “I’ll be obedient.”

Application:

  • God honoring ministry cannot and does not avoid this pattern. We must be cleansed so that we can hear God’s call and be commissioned.  God desires to use clean vessels for His use.
  • Salvation should always lead to sanctification, and sanctification should always lead to service and sending.

4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives:

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God.

Attribute #2- God’s Forgiveness- A right view of self.

Attribute #3- God’s Call- A right view of mission.

Attribute #4- God’s Persistence- A right view of ministry.

  • Now, though it would be nice to stop here, we must read on to verses 9 and 10.

(9)  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  (10)  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:9-10

  • When we read these verses, we begin to realize that God’s calling is not always easy.
  • What God calls and commissions Isaiah to do is no easy thing.
  • He essentially tells Isaiah to go to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  Isaiah’s message to them was that they were a people that can hear but don’t understand, and that can see but don’t perceive.
  • He tells Isaiah that through his preaching most people will not listen, obey, convert and be healed.

Application:

  • God honoring ministry can be very difficult.  Not everyone will respond the way we desire them to respond.
  • This does not always mean that we are doing something wrong.  God is faithful, and we must remember that faithfulness is what is required of us.

(1)  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  (2)  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.  1 Corinthians 4:1-2

  • When we faithfully steward our gifts, abilities, and calling, God will come through on the results, whatever they may be.
  • But here is some good news. God’s Word never returns void.

(11)  Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, (12)  And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. (13)  But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.  Isaiah 6:11-13

Explanation:

  • In verses 9 and 10, God told Isaiah that his message would be to people who wouldn’t listen and wouldn’t understand.
  • He told him as a result they would not turn back to God and be healed.  This didn’t mean that there would be no results.
  • He was speaking in a national sense.  How do we know this?
    • Because Isaiah asked what we would probably ask with such a forecast in verse 11.  “Lord, how long?”.  He’s essentially saying, “How long am I supposed to have this kind of ministry with these kinds of results?”
    • God goes on to describe a coming judgement of the people of Jerusalem and Judea in verses 11 and 12.  He was speaking here of the exile of these people out of the land.
  • Good news comes in verse 13.  There would be a remnant.
  • A small percentage of the people would believe.
  • They would be like a “holy seed” that would spring up again in the land.  It would be like a stump from which the “holy seed” would spring.  There would be life again.
  • Isaiah needed to know that his ministry would not be totally in vain.  There would be a remnant.  God’s purposes would be accomplished.  God was not requiring “success” but faithfulness.

Application:

  • Isaiah’s response earlier in the passage ought to be our response to God’s calling.
  • When God says, “Who will go..?” our answer must be, “Here am I.  Send me.”
  • When we are obedient to go, we must not get weary in well doing.  Everything will not go as we wish.  We must remember that God desires faithfulness in us, and will always be faithful to us.  It reminds me of this song of praise to God:

Standing on this mountaintop Looking just how far we’ve come

Knowing that for every step You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You’ve done

Knowing every victory Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say

Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Response:

  • How have you seen God be faithful to you in your life?
  • How can you be more faithful to him?
  • What is God calling you to do in this season of life?

 

Conclusion:

4 attributes of God’s character that will help us respond rightly to God’s call in our lives:

Attribute #1 – God’s Glory- A right view of God.

Attribute #2- God’s Forgiveness- A right view of self.

Attribute #3- God’s Call- A right view of mission.

Attribute #4- God’s Persistence- A right view of ministry.

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