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Isaiah's Response to God's Glory

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Scripture reading:
Isaiah was God's spokesman to Judah and Jerusalem at time when the nation was immersed in sin and trusting in the nations for deliverance instead of God.
It was a time of great political turmoil for the nation of Judah. Assyria was expanding its empire, attacking Israel and Syria to the north. When Judah refused to join a coalition with Israel and Syria to resist Assyria, Judah was attacked by Israel and Syria in retaliation. As Judah seriously considered inviting Assyria to help, Isaiah sought to encourage the king and the people to trust only in God. King Ahaz rejected Isaiah's advice and asked Assyria to come to his aid. Assyria accepted, and the capital of Israel (Samaria) fell around 722 B.C.
It soon became apparent that Judah was next on Assyria's hit list. Judah began looking to Egypt in the south for help. Once again, Isaiah counseled the nation to make no alliances but trust only in the Lord.
King Hezekiah did not turn to the nations for deliverance but to God. God rewarded his faith by destroying the Assyrians (). But in a moment of weakness Hezekiah showed the ambassadors from Babylon (Assyria's enemy) the house of his treasures (). This prompted Isaiah to foretell that the king's treasures and his descendants would be taken away to Babylon (). With this prophecy as an introduction, in chapters 40-66 Isaiah speaks from the viewpoint of Babylonian exile and foretells of coming pardon, deliverance, and restoration.
He spoke God's indictment against their sins, urging them to repent. He then foretold destruction upon them if they did not return to God.
In the midst of these dire warnings, Isaiah also foretold of a bright future with the coming Messiah. God would not forget His covenant made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. He would spare a remnant of the nation of Israel out of which would come the Messiah and His new kingdom.
Isaiah received his visions in the days of "Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" (). The vision of the throne scene which occurred "in the year Uzziah died" () was the beginning point of his ministry as a prophet (ca. 739 B.C.).
Isaiah’s vision- He looks upward
The defining vision for Isaiah!!! This vision occurs in the year that King Uzziah dies. Uzziah was one whose reign started out good, serving the Lord, being successful in battle and well known and liked by all. But his pride was his undoing. His disobeyed God, entering the temple to burn incense. The Lord struck him with Leprosy, which he had till his death.
Uzziah lifted himself up in his pride, but in contrast in this vision of Isaiah, the Lord is high and lifted up, a position that He always has. The Lord is exalted.
Isaiah sees Seraphim. They are covering their face and feet (symbol of humility in presence of God). They are telling each other of the holiness of the Lord with a 3fold Holy, Holy, Holy, indicating His absolute holiness. Those who are the closest to the Lord are the ones who honor Him and praise Him. Those near to God see God as glorious and worthy of praise. This vision impressed upon Isaiah that this God is the Holy One of Israel, a title he uses for the Lord at least 25 times in this book.
What is noteworthy is that the apostle John says that in this vision Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus Christ ()!
Isaiah’s vision- He looks inward
Isaiah in this vision sees the Lord in His glory, and responded in the way we all need to respond to the Lord. The revelation of the Lord should lead us to look inward at ourselves and our lives. An overpowering vision where Isaiah just saw the Holy God leads him to see his own lack of holiness!
Isaiah remembered the sins of his mouth. In chs 5-6, Isaiah pronounces 7 woes upon God’s people. After the six that he pronounces towards Judah, He pronounces this 7th woe against himself. “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Even Isaiah was not exempt from needing the mercy of God.
He received mercy
In verse 7, Isaiah receives the forgiveness and cleansing of God. One of the seraphim, the burning ones, takes a burning coal from the alter and touches his unclean lips with it and declares to Isaiah that God has taken away his sin and forgiven him.
Isaiah’s vision- He looks outward
Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord asking, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Isaiah responds with a willingness to serve the Lord. He says, “here am I, send me!” Isaiah responds to this amazing vision that he sees and the forgiveness that he receives by acting. The prophet is no longer wrapped up in his own needs; he wants to do the will of God. What is amazing about this is Isaiah is eager to volunteer before he even hears the message or any of the circumstances he would go through (how long, how hard, what message?). Isaiah was willing.
He was to go and preach a message telling the people not to perceive what they heard. He needed to preach the truth even though it would not be listened to. Preaching to Israel and Judah only hardened them. The people closed their eyes, plugged their ears, and hardened their hearts.
v11 Isaiah asks “How long?” Till all is destroyed; till there is nothing left to preach to? Is this a success? YES! God desired to warn His people and to give them the chance to repent. God wants His word preached regardless of what the response will be. God’s word convicts and hardens by preaching. We need to preach whether we believe it will drive them away or not.
No one has the luxury of only preaching to receptive people. The response of the people is also not an accurate determination of the faithfulness of the one preaching. Isaiah’s failure to convict the people proved that he was speaking for God. God said it would happen this way.
If the people repented, we would need to ask, “What did Isaiah do wrong”!
Isaiah’s vision and US?
a. Do we recognize who it is that we serve?
b. Are we truly grateful for the mercy that we have been given?
c. How have we responded to God’s revelation and to His forgiveness?
Do we make excuses as Moses did when he was called? Do we run away from our duty as did Jonah? OR do we say to the Lord, "Here am I, send me"?
We need this kind of willing spirit to serve the Lord no matter what may come. We need to respond to our God’s majesty and His mercy by spreading the message that He gives us to share. And just as Isaiah, we are told that the message will be rejected by the majority. ()
Isaiah’s vision and the gospel-Conclusion
The message: Isaiah’s vision reminds me so much of the gospel that we are to preach.
God is Holy. He is perfect and without sin.
Sin- We need to see our sin and what it does to our relationship to God () and we need to see our need for forgiveness. (most of the world will not do!)
God provides forgiveness (cf. )
What must we do?
(Most of the world/ even religious world will explain away what God clearly states). Will you accept the gospel message that the Apostles delivered by the authority of Christ, doing just as the people on the day of Pentecost did. (acts 2:41). Those who accepted Peter’s gospel message obeyed his command from the Lord to repent from their sin, and to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Will you do the same as we sing the song our brother has selected?
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