“And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leaves stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
Whenever I find myself reflecting upon the importance of careful Bible reading and study I am constantly amazed by the depth of the message of Scripture that we discover if we take the time and effort to carefully explore the Word of God. Such is the case when we take a look at Isaiah’s call to the prophetic ministry. This call comes in the context of a vision of God. That vision of God reveals a number of important things.
- The vision is a confrontation with the holiness of God. As Isaiah sees the Lord He becomes aware of the absolute holiness of the Living God. Interestingly the Apostle John tells us in John 12:41 that this is in fact a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole chapter ushers us into an awareness of the Trinity.
- Having seen the holiness of the Lord, Isaiah also becomes aware of his depravity. He is a man who is corrupted in his sin. He knows that he is ruined by his sinfulness. This is the starting point for all genuine preaching and teaching. If we are not deeply aware of our sin then we will not be able to do the work of an Evangelist.
- This vision is one in which we are ushered into the atoning work of God in Christ. A coal from the altar is brought by a Seraphim and placed upon Isaiah’s lips. The gracious, forgiving, work of the Atonement in Christ is crucial for Isaiah’s and our service of God. Isaiah does not hear God’s call until his sin is atoned for.
- Once this has taken place then Isaiah can hear the call of God. However this takes place within the context of Isaiah overhearing the discussion between the Persons of the Trinity. “Who shall I send? Who will go for us?” I suspect that here the context of Isaiah’s calling comes within the decision to send the Lord Jesus Christ into our world in order to bear our sin.
- Isaiah is called to a ministry which will appear to be a failure because his message will be confronting a people who are hardened in their sin. It will be in many ways a fragrance of death among the people of his time. He will need the sustaining work of the Spirit of God in order to persevere in this work. Here is a word of hope and encouragement for our work today.
- Isaiah is proclaiming God’s judgement but with a very deep hope. This is found in the principle of the remnant. There will always be a remnant left to Worship God. Even when everything is swept away there will be life left in the stump that is left behind. Isaiah discovers that the Nation will die in order to be resurrected. Out of all that they are experiencing the Messiah will come. It is God’s work done in God’s way, by God’s power.
Therefore we are called to be a people who are deeply immersed in these Biblical doctrines. This requires prayerfulness and a careful walking with God in the purpose and plan which He is working out among us.