Who will go for Us?

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 by Jenny Thompson

Readings

Isaiah 6: 1-8 & 1 John 5-10
Key verses

Then I heard the lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)

Introduction

Isaiah 1:1 identifies the author of the book of Isaiah as the Prophet Isaiah. The Book was written between 701 and 681 B.C. The Prophet Isaiah was primarily called to prophesy to the Kingdom of Judah. Judah was going through times of revival and times of rebellion. Judah was threatened with destruction by Assyria and Egypt, but was spared because of God’s mercy. Isaiah was called to proclaim a message of repentance from sin and hopeful expectation of God’s deliverance in the future.

Isaiah’s vision

In the beginning of Isaiah’s ministry, he was allowed to see a vision of God seated high on the throne in Heaven. He was allowed to witness the full majesty of God and hear the Seraphim praising God! “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory”.

The vision of God was so pure and so holy that Isaiah was immediately confronted with his own sinful condition; Ldquo;I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.”

How true it is that the closer we get to the Lord the more we are aware of our sinfulness! But God comforted Isaiah by letting him know his sin had been removed; “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” God had a purpose for revealing Himself to Isaiah, He was looking for a messenger to deliver His Word to the people of Israel; “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

If we were asked such a question, we might be tempted to have a long list of questions before answering. We might like to know where we would be sent and what we would be doing. But Isaiah had just experienced the full glory of the Lord. He had seen absolute perfection, recognized his utter sinful condition, and received complete forgiveness from a loving Father.
With this understanding of the One who was asking, Isaiah had only one reply!

Isaiah had no way of knowing his reply would be the start of sixty years of ministry. He had no way of knowing the many hardships his answer would cause, or the many joys he would experience through walking in the presence of God, but he knew the One who was calling, and that was enough!

There’s really no need for our lengthy questions regarding the how, why, when or what. When God calls us, we can assume He has made a wise and perfect choice.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

When Isaiah’s lips were touched with a live burning coal, he was told that his sins were forgiven. It wasn’t of course the coal that cleansed him, but God. “If we confess our sin God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In response, Isaiah submitted himself entirely to God’s service. No matter how difficult his task would be, he said, “Here I am. Send me.” The painful cleansing process was necessary before Isaiah could fulfil the task to which God was calling him. Often we have to go through a painful cleansing process before we are ready to serve Him!

Isaiah’s condition

Verse 1 mentions the death of King Uzziah. He was the tenth king of Judah and he was a very godly man. He was highly influenced by the prophet Zechariah and, unlike many of the other kings, he never totally departed from the worship of the true God. Unfortunately the king got rather big headed and made the fatal mistake of offering incense in the Temple. (2 Chronicles 26:19f). As a result he was stricken with leprosy by the Lord for his act of disobedience to Him. He died in that leprous condition! How tragic, he spent the rest of his days as an outcast unable to worship in the temple.

Disobedience to the Lord is a serious thing! Apparently Isaiah had his attention focused on Uzziah, but now that Uzziah was dead, his attention is redirected back to the Lord. What must have been a time of depression and despair in the prophet‘s life became the opportunity for him to refocus on the Lord.

Sometimes the Lord will remove people and stuff from us so we can focus again on Him. He is a jealous God and wants our full devotion.

Isaiah’s revelation

So when we go through difficult times may we remember what Isaiah saw:-

  • He Saw God’s Position
    Isaiah saw God in His sovereignty. An earthly king may have died, but the Lord still reigned.
  • He saw the Lord in all His glory
    and it had a profound impact on his life. When life seems to fall apart at the seams, we need to remember that God is still on the throne and in control of our lives.
  • He Saw God’s Personality
    The angelic beings in the temple proclaimed the holy nature of the Lord. Even those sinless creatures were careful to honour the holiness and purity of the Lord. Notice that they covered their faces with their wings! Isaiah finally understood that Uzziah might have been a good king, but the Lord was a holy God and He and He alone deserved all the glory and all the praise.
  • He Saw God’s Presence
    We are told that the “house was filled with smoke”. This was a symbol of the presence of God. You will notice that God’s “train” filled the temple! That speaks of His robe. God was the central figure in the Temple! We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, filled with the presence of God, we are carriers of His presence!
  • Isaiah was aware of his Condition
    when Isaiah saw the Lord, he instantly realized that there were problems within his own heart. That is what happens when we get closer to Him!Isaiah probably thought his walk with God was ok until he saw the Lord in His glory and holiness. Isaiah did not cry out “Woe is my neighbour!” He cried out “Woe is me!”
  • Isaiah was aware of his own cleansing
    Thank God, the Lord does not just point out our sins, He also provided a way for us to be cleansed! With Isaiah, it was an angel with a live coal from of the altar. With us it is the precious blood of Jesus. (1 John 1:9)
  • Isaiah said “I Am Available”
    As soon as Isaiah gets His heart clean, he hears the call of the Lord to service.
    When Isaiah said “Here am I”, he was saying, “My time of depression and despair is over and I am ready for service!” He was signifying that he was over the death of Uzziah and that his life was on the altar of sacrifice for the glory of God! We need to get our all on the altar for God and come to the place where nothing means anything to us but what He wants from us! We need to submit, surrender and sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2).
  • Isaiah Said “I Am Agreeable”
    Isaiah not only told the Lord of His availability, but he also mentioned his agreeability! He was saying, “Lord, I am here to do what you want and I am willing to do what you want! Send me and let me go do what you want me to do!”
    We are to make ourselves totally available to the Lord and get agreeable with whatever He asks us to do and we can be sure that He will bless our lives and use us for His glory!

Isaiah’s decision

May God help us in the midst of difficulties to see what Isaiah saw, to sense what Isaiah sensed and to say what Isaiah said!

May we have a focused heart, a clean heart and a surrendered heart.

I know that’s what I want in my life; is that what we all want?

We can get so caught up with the pursuit of careers and money etc. that these things can block us from hearing the call of God!

“The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered.&rdquo:
– Oswald Chambers

Isaiah’s cleansing

So the Prophet was cleansed in an incredible way! One of the seraphim flew to Isaiah with a live hot burning coal! It was so hot that even an angel had to use the tongs from the altar! (So apparently the seraphim have hands!!) And he touched Isaiah’s mouth with it! This must have been painful, a burning hot coal applied to the lips, one of the more sensitive areas of the body. Yet, nothing is recorded to say that Isaiah screamed out in pain. Either there was no pain, because of a special blessing by God, or the pain did not matter because of the magnificence of the vision and the power of the cleansing.

Isaiah knew he did not serve the Lord like these seraphim, the burning ones. So God said, “I will light a fire in you, also!” I believe He is saying to us today “I am going to light a fire within you today and you will burn for me in a way that you have never before experienced.”

The effect of that live coal will be to fire the lip with heavenly flame. “Oh,” says one man, “a flaming coal will burn the lip so that the man cannot speak at all.”
That is just how God works with us; it is by consuming the fleshly power that he inspires the heavenly might. Oh let the lip be burnt, let the fleshly power of eloquence be destroyed, but oh for that live coal to make the tongue eloquent with heaven‘s flame; the true divine power which urged the Apostles forward, and made them conquerors of the whole world.
– Spurgeon

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

Here we see a sign of the Trinity! God looked for someone to send. He wanted someone to go.

How strange it is for God to ask a question at all! What does God wonder about? What questions would He have? What does God not know? How strange it is that God in His sovereignty and power should ask for volunteers! He could easily make us all like robots to obey.his.every.command, or to command His angels to carry out His will. But no, God wants willing, surrendered hearts. Have you noticed God never forces us to do anything?!

Conclusion

Isaiah answered God’s call. He did not hesitate. Isaiah wanted to be the answer to God’s question.

What created this kind of heart in Isaiah? He had a heart that had been in the presence of God. He had a heart that knew its own sinfulness. He had a heart that knew the need among the people, the need for God’s word. He had a heart that had been touched by God’s cleansing fire. And he had a heart that heard God’s heart to reach the nation of Israel.

May we have such a heart that is saying to God “…here I am, I am available and agreeable; send me!”

Amen

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