Summary: Isaiah's calling. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Isaiah chapter 6 verses 1-8.
• The Hebrew word translated "prophet" is navi (pronounced nah-vEE),
• It is a term that means literally "one who has been called."
• Abraham was the first person in the Old Testament;
• To bear the title of prophet (Genesis chapter 20 verse 7),
• Back in Genesis chapter 11 verses 1-3;
• God called him to leave his father's household and serve him.
• According to Jesus (Matthew chapter 12 verse 13;
• John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet.
Between those two men:
• The Bible contains many, many numerous accounts;
• Of people being called to serve God as prophets.
• In each case the man became a prophet not by human preference;
• But through divine choice.
• True prophecy is a vocation (which means "calling"),
• Not a profession (which depends on human initiative).
Since Isaiah was a genuine prophet (Isa. 37:2; 38:1; 39:3-4):
• You would therefore expect him to give us the story of his call,
• And he has not disappointed us.
• In fact, the sixth chapter of his prophecy,
• We have an outstanding example of a "call" narrative.
• It describes the basic elements;
• Of what a person can expect to happen when he or she is called by God to serve him.
“If you have a vision without a task, you’ll be a visionary,
if you have a task without a vision, it’s drudgery.
But if you get a task wedded to a vision, you’ll be a missionary”.
• Isaiah was a missionary;
• And we 5 find principles in this story.
5 RELEVANT PRINCIPLES FROM AN ANCIENT PROPHET
Principle 1: God Uses Circumstances to Make Us Aware of His Presence.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple
• In reading these verses it is easy to become so impressed with the vision;
• That we pass over the circumstance that brought it about.
• If I understand this correctly, it was a time of loss,
• An experience of grief for Isaiah as his friend had died.
• The Living Bible links the vision with the grief:
• "The year King Uzziah died I saw the Lord!"
His earthly circumstances turned his eyes upwards.
• Uzziah and Isaiah had been friends, maybe even related,
• But Uzziah’s death had left Isaiah feeling shocked and hopeless.
• Everything in Isaiah’s world was in confusion,
• His king was dead, his nation was in peril, and he could do nothing to change them!
Notice this is when he “saw the Lord”
• Question: What was the Lord doing? Was He frowning or pacing back and forth?
• Answer: No.
• Question: Was He anxious or puzzled or angry?
• Answer: No.
• In fact the Lord was sitting down! Calmly seated on His throne.
• When you read of Jehovah's position, you think of majestic sovereignty.
God was totally in charge.
• He was not wringing His hands, wondering what will he do now Uzziah’s gone,
• Not worried about who will rule over the people, He is not phased at all by the situation.
• He was "lofty and exalted."
• With height comes perspective.
• And His exalted role speaks of authority.
• Isaiah saw no confused or anxious deity,
• But One who sat in sovereign, calm control with full perspective;
• And in absolute authority.
When Isaiah entered the temple he was taken up fully with Uzziah & his circumstances:
• But from now on the death of Uzziah is not mentioned again.
• From now he would be taken up with God himself;
• Isaiah was overwhelmed by what he saw:
• God’s presence was everywhere, it was "filling the temple."
Principle 2: God Reveals His Character to Make Us See Our Need.
Isaiah also saw a group of multiple-winged creatures called "seraphim"
• Quote: One Old Testament scholar refers to them as "flaming angels".
• These seraphim were also present in Isaiah's vision.
• They formed an an-ti-phonal choir,
• Chanting and repeating in alternating voice:
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
the whole earth is full of His glory."
• It must have been an incredible sight!
• In Unger's Bible Dictionary we read,
"From their antiphonal chant. . . we may conceive them to have been ranged in opposite rows on each side of the throne. "
• One group would cry out;
• And the other group would answer.
• And as Isaiah stared in silence, dumbfounded by the vision he saw,
• The cry would sound out again and again and again.