Summary: An in depth examination of the call of Isaiah, with both an attempt to uncover buried meanings in the text and also to connect it with our lives today.
I had the privilege of being ordained this past May as an elder in the church of the Nazarene. For many of you the word ordination may not hold an overwhelming amount of meaning, but for a pastor it is a very important moment. It is the culmination of years of studying and years of practical experience within the church. And even after fulfilling education and experience requirements, there is still an interview process. Ordination is essentially a seal of approval from the general church for a pastor. And I was very fortunate to be approved by the Nazarene church for ordination at a relatively young age.
One of the things that I was looking forward to with ordination was a small gift given by the district to each ordinand. It is a small statue of Jesus and Peter. I was familiar with the statue because of the one in pastor Marks office. I already had the spot picked out in my office where it was going to go and then for some reason the district decided not to give the statue this year. I don’t know why. But I was pretty disappointed. Instead I received this lovely painting. Beautiful feminine colors. I can’t wait to put this on my wall. Can you hear the sarcasm? I don’t mean any offense to the artist, but it isn’t really something a male pastor would hang in his office.
So Christmas rolls around once again like it seems to do each year. Christmas with my in-laws is always an adventure because I have no idea what they are going to give me. So far they have done excellent. This year I knew that my mother-in-law had decided on a certain gift she wanted to buy me, but I had no idea the lies and down right sneakiness that was occurring. My very own wife has been working undercover for several months now to find out where this statue can be obtained. So after sneaking into Marks office and a couple emails Jen was able to tell her mother how to get one of these statues that I had been expecting.
On Christmas morning I was starting to get rather nervous. As the present were passed out and opened I slowly began to realize that my mother-in-law had placed all her eggs in one basket. I had only one present to unwrap and they were saving it for last. I began to think, what if I don’t like this one present that Jodie has bought me? Everyone is going to be looking at me when I open it. Well I did like it. So much so I scared Jodie because I didn’t say anything. Jens brother said, look at him, he can’t talk, finally! My eyes might have been a little watery, but for the record there was no crying. Jen told me later her mom asked if I liked it, she wasn’t sure because I looked upset.
The statue is called, The Calling. Jesus is standing beside Peter who is presumably mending his nets and Jesus calls him to follow him. We have several of these types of passages in the bible where God is placing a call on the life of someone and I want us to look today at the call of Isaiah.
Turn with me please to Isaiah 6. Keep your bibles open as we will be reading small sections and then discussing them. Let’s begin with verses 1-4. (Read) The fact that Isaiah saw seraphs is significant and helps us to understand the location of this event. You may have heard of cherubim and seraphim. Cherubim are what sit atop the Ark of the Covenant to protect the mercy seat in the temples Holiest of Holies. They are only spoken of in the bible as existing on earth. On the other hand, seraphim are only mentioned as existing in heaven. So the fact that Isaiah saw seraphim tells us that this was more than just an earthly experience in the temple in Jerusalem. This was God bringing Isaiah to a higher place in order to meet with him.
What else can be learned from these seraphs? If we pay attention to the way they behave we can take a little more from the text. They each had six wings. With two they flew, with two they covered their faces and with two they covered their feet. These seraphs exist in the presence of God, but God is so holy that not even they dare look at him, so they cover their faces. And feet in the Israelite culture were a symbol of impurity. We see examples of that during the time of Jesus as he washed the feet of his disciples. And so with two more wings the seraphs covered their feet.