In order to use some of the links on this page it is necessary to enable Javascript.

skip to main content, skip to site links, or skip to search

Links to Bible Verses or third party sites will open in a new window.

Jude Ministries Logo Header

Site Search

 

Related Studies

2 Timothy

Cults and World Religions

NeoTheism

The Bible

Contending For The Faith

Discipleship

Prophecy

 

Opens in a new window

 

 

 

Isaiah

The Messenger for the Messiah

Isaiah 6:1-4
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
NKJV

The Bible is about the majesty of God, the sinfulness of man, the forgiveness of God, and the call of saved people to ministry.  The Scriptures also provide us with a peak into the results of such ministries on behalf of God.  In chapter 6 of Isaiah we discover all of these elements.

This is my favorite chapter of the book of Isaiah.  The chapter shows the majesty of God in comparison to mankind, as well as the sinful position of men in the face of God.  Further, there should be an excitement in your life when you come face-to-face with God and discover you position before Him, as well as the discovery that He will cleanse you when you seek repentance.  This cleansing should produce an amazing excitement within you as you discover that God cares about YOU, wants to help YOU, and wants YOU to enter into service for Him.  We find such excitement in this chapter as Isaiah sees God redeem the prophet from his sin and then calls him into service.  When God asks, "Whom shall I send?" your response should be without hesitation.

"Here am I! Send me."

What do you do when God calls you?

Uzziah died around 740 BC.  Isaiah records his death in chapter 6.  This chapter is chronologically the first chapter of Isaiah, for it describes Isaiah’s call to ministry.  Yet, as important as Uzziah was to Israel and, perhaps, to Isaiah personally (tradition says Isaiah and Uzziah were cousins), notice that his death received a mere seven word notice.  The verses are all about the majesty of God!

Isaiah 6:1-4 (NKJV)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

This comparison of Uzziah to God should dispel any concerns about who is the most important.  Man is a mere vapor compared to the Almighty.  Isaiah’s vision of God sees the Lord sitting on a high, lifted up throne.  God’s robe fills the Temple!  No small robe!  Picture the train of a bride’s dress trailing a few feet down the isle.  Now, picture God sitting in the back of the choir loft with the train of His robe filling the entire church!  This starts to provide a comparison of the relative importance of man and God.

The concept of God’s majesty is missing from the church today.  God has become too much of a buddy and friend.  God is love is true, but it leaves out many of God’s other attributes.  When a portion of God is missing, we have placed God in a box of our making.  We lose the total picture of God.  Imagine a being upon whom you cannot look.  Imagine a being who allowed Moses to only view the back of His glory (Exod 33:18-23).

What is your picture of God?  When you think of Him, do you see His majesty and glory?  One might describe these two traits as the sum total of God.  The Hebrew word translated as "glory" actually means something like a weight.  Majesty conveys the ideas of magnificence; to be marvelous; or being noble.  Is your God so noble that His weight crushes you?  This is the God of Scripture.  No wonder Isaiah spends more time talking about God than Isaiah.

God is worshiped and guarded by the seraphim (1:2).  The cheribum also help to guard the throne room (Exod 25:18-22).  These angels are found named only here in the Scriptures, although it is probable that the angels of Revelation 4 are also seraphim.  The Hebrew root, seraph, probably means to burn or burning.  Here each one is described as having six wings:

with two he covered his face – because to look upon God is to die -- humility

with two he covered his feet – a sign of humility and respect

with two he flew – the means of movement so that they may be of service to God

Notice the force of their worship.  One of these angels recite the phrase "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"  So powerful is his worship that the door posts of the Temple shake and the Temple is filled with smoke!  The message itself is directed towards God’s holiness, His complete pureness and absence of anything sinful.  The smoke may have been God’s Shekinah Glory, the same cloud that guided the Exodus (Exod 40:34-38; cf. 19:18).  Makes our Sunday mornings look pitiful doesn’t it?

If you witnessed God being worshiped in this fashion, what would be your reaction?  Isaiah sees himself for what and who he is – a sinful creature who cannot be in the presence of God Almighty.  Interestingly enough, Isaiah is one of the few people in Scripture who have no specific personal sins recorded about their life.  Yet, Isaiah realizes he is one of those God is talking about in chapter 1, a sinner.

Isaiah 6:5 (NKJV)
5 So I said: "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."

Do you picture yourself in such honesty?  Do you have unclean lips?  Are you living amongst people who have unclean lips?  Do you ever picture your own condition in comparison to that of God Almighty?  God hates evil.  Do you?

Remember last week’s lesson?  Last week we saw that God detests ritual and mechanical worship.  God hates unrighteousness.  God desires that His people be righteous, but He realizes that we cannot be righteous on our own.  Our sinful condition prohibits us from achieving righteousness.  God must assist us.  God made this clear at the end of Isaiah 1. 

Now in this chapter, God provides us with a picture of His redemption at work.  Isaiah sees himself as sinful.  God responds to this confession not with punishment but with redemption and cleansing!

Isaiah 6:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged."

Mankind needs a Messiah to take away his sins.  The seraphim offer us a picture of God sending a messenger to cleanse Isaiah from his filthiness.  Ultimately, God will send His only Son, Jesus, as the Messiah or Christ to remove mankind’s sin.  At the Cross Jesus paid the sin debt of the entire world, so that mankind would have a path to redemption, in a similar manner as Isaiah.

Like Isaiah, mankind must come face to face with his own sin and look to God for forgiveness.  Only God can remove iniquity and purge our sins.  This explains, ultimately, why Jesus is the only way to God.  Since God must perform all of the tasks necessary to make us clean, God has the right to determine the method for cleansing.  He could have chosen to send the seraphim to each of us as we seek God and recognize our uncleanness.  God chose, instead to require that we exercise a belief in Jesus as the way back to God.

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

God sent the seraphim to Isaiah without his asking.  God sent Jesus to the Cross without our asking.  Like Isaiah, when we come face-to-face with God in the circumstances of life and recognize our sinfulness, we, too, will cry out to God in repentance.  When we exercise this faith, when we acknowledge that Jesus is the way to God, God forgives us and purges our sin and takes away our iniquities.

Having recognized his sin, having been cleansed by God, Isaiah was now open to the will and voice of God.  When God calls, Isaiah recognizes His voice and responds to His call to service in a positive manner.  To my mind, this verse offers one of the great summaries of Scriptures as to the meaning of loving the Lord thy God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

We are not all prophets, but we are all called by God into service for His kingdom.  The New Testament teaches that each of us possess one or more spiritual gifts that we are to use for the advancement of God’s kingdom.  Our call is a call to use these gifts.  This is our ministry.  Like Isaiah, when God calls, we need to be ready to respond.

As an aside, here is the Trinity, even though the doctrine is not discussed and little explained in the Old Testament.  If there is no Trinity, who is the "Us" doing the sending?  It is the Lord speaking, calling Himself "Us."

Notice that Isaiah accepts his assignment to service before he knows what the task will actually involve.  In other words, one might draw a parallel to the situation where, for example, the children’s pastor needs help.  You may not know anything about working with children, but when God calls and tell you "this" is your assignment, your response should be like Isaiah’s – "Here am I!  Send me."

One of the problems of ministry in today’s church is the influence of the world upon our views concerning our ministry involvement.  The world says success is measured by certain positive, measurable standards.  These might include funds raised, people involved, lives saved, number of people in your class, or at the worship service, or in your ministry.  These are sometimes useful, but they are not the manner in which God measures success.  In fact, when one studies the balance of this chapter, an amazing discovery arises.  From the world’s perspective Isaiah will be a failure!

Isaiah 6:9-13 (NKJV)
9 And He said, "Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 "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." 11 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, 12 The Lord has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. 13 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."

Two important facts act as the bookcases for Isaiah ministry.  First, in verse 9, Isaiah receives his marching orders – "Go, and tell this people."  Isaiah’s job is to preach the message of God.  We will come back and look at Isaiah’s version of this message in more detail, but what we will find is that Isaiah was to deliver the Words of God to the people.

Each of us, no matter what our ministry or our gifts, have been sent as ambassadors of God to be witnesses to His power within our lives.  We each have a testimony concerning our own personal encounter with God’s face, just as Isaiah’s in 6:1.  Further, John tells us that the battle is ultimately won by the blood of Christ and our testimonies.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

The other bookend is found in verse 11 where Isaiah inquires as to how long his ministry will last.  Notice God’s answer – until there are no more men hear the message!  Not only until there are not more people left, but verse 12 sets forth the general area of ministry – everywhere!  God has removed men to far off places and Isaiah is to deliver his message to everyone!

We noted last week that Isaiah’s ministry last around 60 years, from the death of Uzziah until the death of Sennacherib.  Did you read the balance of the verses closely?  Did you notice that even before he preaches the first word, God tells Isaiah the outcome of his efforts.  God, essentially, tells Isaiah, "Go preach, for a very long time, and, oh, by the way, no one is going to listen to you!"  You cannot consider this to be a very optimistic, rousing sendoff for a new ministry!  Look again at verses 9-10:

‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 "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."

God is not telling Isaiah to dull the people’s hearing.  What God says is that the Gospel message, the Word of God hardens people’s hearts.  Sinful man turns away from the Word of God.  The devil snatches the Word as it hits rocky soil.  The turmoil of life drives the Message of God out of a person’s heart.  The Gospel is offensive.  Jesus is offensive.  God is offensive to people today, and God was offensive to Judah in the days of Isaiah.  Fools do not like the message of God.  Unfortunately, fools frequently do not like the messenger either.

To show you the importance of these verses, the negative comments are repeated more often in the passages of the New Testament than are the magnificent verses concerning Isaiah’s call and cleansing (cf. Matt 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:4-41; Acts 28:26-27; Rom 11:8).  As exciting as the opening verses of this chapter resound in your ears, the real message of Isaiah chapter 6 is that a pagan, unbelieving, foolish world does not want to listen to the Word of God.  They will reject God’s Word and they will reject God’s messenger.

It is a sad commentary on mankind that he ignores the signs of God all around him and chooses not to be healed and receive understanding.  Paul tells us all about this process in Romans 1.  Note the important fact that God gives everyone the ability to know He exists.

Romans 1:18-21 (NKJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

What is even worse, when the end times arrive, mankind ultimately recognizes the wrath of God at work – and they still will not turn to God and seek His forgiveness.  As Jeremiah wrote, the human heart truly is the seat of foolishness and sin.

Revelation 16:21 (NKJV)
21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)
9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

God does leave a door of hope open that sustained Isaiah for 60 years or more.  As in chapter 1, God sets forth the promise of hope, of a remnant who will turn to Him. 

13 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.

No matter how dark the days, no matter how slow the response, no matter how petite the response, God has followers, believers, those who will accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  It is for these faithful that we all minister.  None of us know who the faithful are.  We have to minister to the world so that future believers will hear the message and turn to God.  We have to continue to preach and teach so that those who accept Jesus will continue to grow and mature in their faith so that they, too, may be sustained in their own ministry efforts.

I might offer a personal example.  We all have different views of ministry.  In my case I like to teach, but just as much I really enjoy writing the lessons.  I also believe that much of this material should be made available to the Christian community at little or no cost.  The Gospel is free and while I have no problem with those who write books receiving a payment, much of the material on the web are nothing more than people’s sermons and Sunday School lessons.  If you sit through the lesson in person, you could essentially make yourself a copy of it for free, so why not everyone else.

In order to accomplish this set of free lessons, many years ago I established a website where I post the various lessons and other similar materials.  If I view the site statistics for any given week, there are not many visitors.  Sometimes as few as thirty people a week visit.  Other weeks, there might be a couple of hundred.  On the other hand . . .

I have had over 16,000 different visitors.

My materials have been used in places as far away as the Southeast Asia and India.

People have received Christ as Savior.

My testimony has appeared in an Assembly of God youth publication.

This is the remnant, the growth off the root of the plant.  If we all contributed to the root, maybe the plant would get just a little larger and become much more mature and healthy.  This is the message of Isaiah 6. 

Be open to seeking God

Be cleansed

Be called

Be responsive and go forth

Be faithful in your ministry

 

Top

 

Bible Copyright Information

This page printed from http://www.judeministries.org//details.phptableID=744&studyID=51.

Copyright © 2001-2017 James G. Arthur and Jude Ministries
Jude Ministries Website Privacy Statement
Comments or Questions? Email Us
October 20, 2017

This site is prepared with
Made with Macromedia Studio and extensions from InterAKT Online Dreamweaver Extensions
Powered by PHP

Powered by MySQL

Interested in web standards and compliance? You can validate this page at the links below,
but see comments in the Blog (Topic - Web Site) about why some (most) pages will not validate.
XHTML  508 UsableNet Approved (v. 1.2.1.1)    CSS