Isaiah Chapter 5 – It’s the mission, not the results
Isaiah chapter 6 takes a hard turn from chapter 5… Isaiah is brought into a vivid vision – I say brought into because it seems that Isaiah’s vision was something that he experienced in the first person – and the vision is the throne room of heaven.
I’ve often pondered about the throne room of heaven, what it might be like there, what the experience would be like. We read about it in scripture, sing about it in songs, but I believe that actually being there would be overwhelming. At least it seems that was the case with Isaiah, because his first response to being there is that he’s “undone:”
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
The mere presence of God caused Isaiah to declare he was undone – the hebrew word here is damah, which means: to cease, completely cut off, but more applicable to this scene: destroyed, perish, ruined, silenced. Standing in the presence of God, the majesty, the holiness, the power – Isaiah must have felt everything drained out of him.
And I can’t help but think that Isaiah was a prophet, a man of God, he was a good dude. And yet next to God; destroyed. (I can’t help but think of people who say “when I get to Heaven, I’m gonna give God a piece of my mind!” No, you’re going to fall on your face prostrate!)
But here’s the cool thing: God didn’t leave Isaiah in that destroyed state! God had a plan for Isaiah.
First God cleansed him.
Of course God knew Isaiah was a sinner (we all are), but God wasn’t going to leave Isaiah in his sin. A seraphim brought a coal from the alter, and touched it to Isaiah’s lips:
“Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Isaiah 5:6
Why did this happen? Because before God uses a man (or woman), sanctification must happen. We must be cleansed, forgiven, set free, and set apart. Sometimes the work is immediate, sometimes it happens over a period of time, but make no mistake: God prepares the messenger before sending him or her out.
Then God called him.
Notice the Lord didn’t order Isaiah, He certainly could have, and Isaiah would have gone. God called out – within earshot of Isaiah – “Who will go?” God searches for willing servants who will take on His cause, and carry His message. Also notice that Isaiah didn’t say “I’ll go,” he said “send me.” God is looking for servants who will follow His lead.
Then God issued the order:
And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” Isaiah 5:9-10
“OK, so I’ve experienced this incredible vision, cleansing, and calling, and I’m going to bring this important message to a people who will not listen? Right Lord…”
While that might seem like a mission that was doomed before it ever started, we have to remember that Isaiah’s mission wasn’t to make the people hear, or believer, or for that matter repent. His mission was to deliver the message.
God could have delivered the message to Judah without Isaiah, perhaps more efficiently, but God wanted to allow Isaiah to be his messenger. Why? I believe it was so that God could do something in Isaiah!
Its been my experience that when I’m doing the calling of my God; that’s when I grow the most. When I’m doing what God has sent me to do; that’s when my faith expands.
Conversely, when I blow off what God has called me to do, just the opposite happens. I become like Jonah. Remember what Pastor Wes taught us – Don’t be Jonah!
“What if they don’t listen?” Well, actually they didn’t. Well, most of them didn’t:
Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump.” Isaiah 5:11-13
Saints, I want you to know something: Whatever God has called us to do, whatever mission He gives us, the results are NOT our responsibility. The mission is our responsibility. If we’ll keep our focus on that, we will be found faithful!