Summary: Isaiah heard the call of God, and in response, volunteered his life. We today also need to personally hear the powerful call of God so that we might voluntarily respond to it also.
ISAIAH'S CALL TO SERVANTHOOD
Here we have Isaiah's solemn call to serve the Lord. Because of his special ministry the prophet received a special revelation of God. He was given the difficult mission of telling people who believed they were God's people that they had forsaken God and would suffer the consequences for their disobedience. His call came to him in the form of a vision. This vision was to confirm Isaiah's faith and sustain him in the unpopular truth he was called to proclaim. The vision also revealed something of the Holy One and awakened him to the awesome reality of Whom he would serve. Those who present to others the realization of God ought to be well acquainted with Him themselves.
Isaiah heard the call of God, and in response, volunteered his life (CIT). We today also need to personally hear the powerful call of God so that we might voluntarily respond to it also (Purpose). But God had to prepare Isaiah so that he would hear his call and respond to his mission. We also need to experience a portion of God's preparation of Isaiah that we too might have ears to hear and a heart to respond to God.
Let's use the following outline to look at how God prepared His servant to hear and positively respond to His call for ministry.
I. CALLED, 1-4.
II. CLEANSED, 5-7.
III. COMMISSIONED, 8.
Isaiah first in gives us an historical indicator for his vision in verse 1. "In the year of King Uzziah's death,
The year of King Uzziah's death was approximately 740 B.C. His reign was important in Jewish history. Uzziah had brought many benefits to the country and had introduced an era of prosperity and peace. He had reigned in Jerusalem for 52 years. Many of the people in Jerusalem lived their entire lives under the reign of King Uzziah. The national boundaries had been extended, commerce and agriculture flourished and there was peace. But the great glory and national pride of Judah were now facing an end, never to rise again.
The Bible tells us that Uzziah began his reign in godliness doing, "what was right in the sight of the Lord." He sought after God and God blessed him. Uzziah was victorious in battle over the Philistines and other nations. He built towers in Jerusalem and strengthened the city walls. He dug massive cisterns in the desert and stimulated great expansion in the nation's agriculture. Uzziah restored the military power of Judah to a standard nearly as high as in the Davidic era. For most of his career Uzziah was a great and beloved king, though in this time of prosperity many of his people turned away from the Lord.
The life of Uzziah ends with a sad note. The last years of his life were like those of a Shakespearian tragic hero. His career was marred by the sin of pride which came after he acquired great wealth and power. He defied the Word of God by boldly entering the temple and claiming for himself the rights that under the Old Covenant God had given only to the Levitical priests. When the priest of the temple tried to stop his sacrilege, Uzziah became enraged. While he was screaming at them in fury, leprosy broke out on his forehead. 2 Chronicles 26:21 says, "He lived in a separate house, being a leper...cut off from the house of the Lord." When Uzziah died, in spite of the shame of his latter years, it was a time of national mourning. During this time of transition Isaiah went to the temple to worship and pray for the nation and himself. There God met him and Isaiah saw a heavenly vision.
Isaiah continues in verse one, "... I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. The king was dead (or dying), but when Isaiah raised his head during worship, he saw another King, the Ultimate King, the One who sits on the throne of David forever. He saw the Lord high and lifted up. Notice that the word begins with a capital letter and is finished with lower case letters. This stands in sharp contrast to the word LORD in all caps which occurs latter in our text and frequently in Scripture (Ps. 110). One is the word Adonai, the other the sacred tetragrammation, the unspeakable four letters YaHWeH.
What or rather who did Isaiah see? "I saw the Lord" the Gospel of John (12: 41), indicates that Isaiah actually saw Jesus. After quoting several prophesies concerning the unbelief of the people because they refused to believe in Jesus despite the evidence of His miracles, John writes, "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him." Isaiah was given access to the throne room of heaven; And as he entered it, he experienced the presence of the second Person of the Trinity, Christ the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.