Summary: God’s call of Isaiah is a reminder of his call for each of His followers to examine who we are and what He has asked us to do.
LOOKING UPWARD…LOOKING INWARD…LOOKING OUTWARD
This morning’s theme is: Looking Upward…Looking Inward…Looking Outward. What I want us to do, is to look at God’s call of Isaiah to be His prophet. But to understand God’s call of Isaiah we must understand something of the times he lived in. It was an unsettling time in the life of God’s people.
Isaiah’s ministry began at the end of the reign of King Uzziah. He had reigned for 52 years, and his reign was the most prosperous for Judah since the days of the United Kingdom of David and Solomon. What was it about his reign that separated him from the other kings who had much less success? Listen to what the Bible says in 2 Chronicles 26 about King Uzziah:
5Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. And as long as the king sought the LORD, God gave him success.
He was remembered as a King who did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, and that the LORD gave him success. But that success only came as long as Uzziah sought the LORD. When he took his eyes off of God he failed. Uzziah’s military successes are described in 2 Chronicles 26 and in verse 15 the reason for that success is clearly stated:
15His fame spread far and wide, for the LORD helped him wonderfully until he became very powerful.
As is often the case…Uzziah’s success and recognition led to pride and verses 16 and following describe the downfall of the King:
16But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the LORD his God…
What Uzziah did was to enter the Temple and light the incense…a task that was supposed to be accomplished by the priests. When he was warned to stopped be became angry and as a result the Lord gave him leprosy, a condition he would live with the rest of his life, and a condition that would drive him into seclusion and bring his reign to a sad end.
Isaiah’s ministry began during this dark period in the life of Uzziah and the Nation. Following Uzziah’s death and Jotham’s ascension to the throne the days did not improve significantly. While Jotham was committed to follow the LORD, the people were not. Here is a picture of the state of the Nation that Isaiah was called to minister to, speaking of King Jotham the scriptures say:
2He did what was pleasing in the LORD’S sight, just as his father, Uzziah, had done. But unlike him, Jotham did not enter the Temple of the LORD. Nevertheless, the people continued in their corrupt ways. (2 Chronicles 27:2)
With that as our backdrop let’s turn to Isaiah 6 and see his call to ministry.
Text: Isaiah :1-13
I. LOOKING UPWARD (1-4)
The first thing we need to realize is that Isaiah saw the LORD. The first direction we should always look spiritually is UPWARD. Until we see God for who HE IS we will never see ourselves for who we are. That is exactly what took place in Isaiah’s call to ministry.
Isaiah was given a glimpse of heaven. In that vision he saw God on his throne. The image that Isaiah saw is very similar to what John saw in the Revelation of Jesus Christ as the spiritual being worshipped the Lord on His throne:
8Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty—
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Revelation 4:8
The importance of the vision was that Isaiah see the holiness of God in contrast to the sinfulness of mankind. The Apostle Peter personalized the holiness of God when he wrote:
14Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. 15But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. 16For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
The words for “holy” in both the Old and New Testament have as root meanings: “to be separate.” God is perfectly perfect and is separated from man because of man’s sin. God is the standard by which moral and spiritual character is measured. By seeing the separateness of God Isaiah was confronted with his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of humanity.
Our first emphasis of “looking upward” is to show the primary importance of worship. There is nothing more important than establishing a vital worship relationship with the Lord. I know that I have been focusing a lot of witnessing as of late, and we are going to talk about that in a few minutes, but unless we get our worship relationship right, our witness will never be right.