Summary: This message examines Isaiah's call to ministry and his response, then applies principles to God's call on each of our lives. Isaiah's experience with the Lord, recorded in chapter 6, had a lasting effect on his life and ministry.
Called into Service
Our text this morning is in Isaiah chapter 6. Please turn there in your Bibles.
I want to talk about the call of God on your life. God’s calling on your life is more important than your career. Your career may have something to do with it; but when life is all said and done—you want to have finished the work He has given you to do. Your personal bucket list of the thing you want to do in life may or may not be part of it. It’s important to make sure those coincide with what He wants you to do. What has called you to do? And are you occupied with doing that? When Paul came to the end of his life, he was able to say with confidence, “I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course….” (2Tim. 4:7 KJV). I sure would like to be able to say the same thing at the end of my journey. Wouldn’t you? That’s why we do a lot of what do: that we may be pleasing to the Lord and finish our course with joy.i
So we will walk through Isaiah 6 this morning. The chapter has three natural sections: (1) Verses 1-4 deal with what Isaiah saw. Notice in verse 1 Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord….” (2) Verses 5-7 deal with what Isaiah said. That section begins with the words, “So I said….” (3) Verses 8-13 reveal what Isaiah heard. Verse 8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying….”
Follow with me as we read Isaiah 6:1-4.
“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. 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. 3 And one cried to 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 were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.”ii
I. What did Isaiah SEE in this vision?
First and most importantly he saw the Lord. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord ….”
There is a pattern in the Bible as to how God equips people for service. There is something very fundamental that has to be in place. You see it in Abraham’s calling; you see it in Jacob’s life; you see it in Moses, in Peter, James, John, Paul.iii It has to be there. What has to be there?
A personal revelation of God and who He is—who He really is: not just who our society thinks He is. Society’s understanding of God is often a consensus of who they want Him to be rather than who He really is. People create an image of God in their minds and then hold Him accountable to be that. It’s really quite absurd; but how many people today are angry at God because He is not behaving the way they think He should. How many people will not come to God on His terms; they have imaged what those terms ought to be and they expect God to conform to that.
Isaiah saw the Lord. The way that happens for one person may be different than it is for another. But it has to be personal; and it has experiential. It can’t just be an intellectual knowledge about God. I’m sure Isaiah had that from his youth. But here God opens Isaiah’s eyes to the greater reality—the kingdom of God that is operating above and beyond the activity we can see with our natural eyes.
The first thing we learn in Isaiah 6 is the timing of this revelation. “In the year that King Uzziah died….” (740 BC).iv That is significant for Isaiah at a personal levelv and at a national level. The king’s death was particularly painful because of the way it happened. Uzziah became king of the Southern Kingdom when he was 16 years old. He was one of the greatest kings that had ever ruled the nation. Under his father’s rule Judah had been defeated and plundered by the Northern kingdom.vi Uzziah reigned for 52 years (2Chron. 26). During his reign he led the nation into restoration and prosperity. He was a godly, successful. But the success went to his head and he decided to step into a role God had not given him. The king was not to function as the priest. The combination of those roles is reserved for Messiah. In his pride Uzziah entered the temple to offer up incense to God in the Holy Place. The priests tried to stop him, but Uzziah went into a rage against them. Suddenly God struck Uzziah with leprosy. He had to withdraw and died a couple of years later.vii