190707AM CBC The Call of Isaiah .docx
God’s Call to Isaiah:
“Who Will Go For Us?”
The call of Isaiah is an opportunity for all of us to think about what God says and whether or not we have responded to Him.
Isaiah was asked by God to do something hard, to face a hostile nation and to speak God’s truth to many who did not want to hear it. Our eternal rewards are tied to little choices we make each day. Whether we respond to God or ignore Him. That is a daily choice.
The pathway to usefulness is consecration. That is the pathway that God had to lead Isaiah along. That is the pathway we all need to follow.
How Does God Call His People to Respond to a Ungodly Culture?
The whole book of Isaiah is about salvation. That is also what the rest of the Bible is about.
God is appealing to the people that He has transformed.
He explains to them how they can impact any culture.
No matter when in history we live, God’s Word explains God’s desires for our lives.
No matter how dark, how evil, how morally decadent any people become, God’s plans for His [people are always the same.
God wants us as spiritually healthy and fit as possible. That is the only way to serve Him anywhere and anytime. But a key that ties Israel’s declension back then, and our eroding, post-Christian America together is in this passage.
When a Nation Abandons God
Here are those fives questions in the context of God’s Word:
- What happens when a nation with a long and deep Biblical Heritage turns its back on God (Isaiah 1:3-6)? How about a group of formerly devout followers of the Lord who mostly have abandoned genuine worship, and godly behavior (Isaiah 1:11-14)?
- What does God’s Word prescribe when a nation that formerly honored Him, slips into Eastern mysticism and new age errors (Isaiah 2:6a), accepts and dabbles in witchcraft and occultic errors (2:6b), plunges into materialism and greed (2:7), and allows idolatry and false worship to thrive (Isaiah 2:8)?
- What does God’s Word prescribe when a formerly God honoring nation chooses the pathway of greedy over development of its land (Isaiah 5:8), allows and enables a culture of alcohol and drug fueled addictions (5:11), with a bent towards unrestrained spring-breakish partying among its people (5:12,18)?
- What does God’s Word prescribe when a nation that formerly revered God’s Word becomes a place where truth is replaced with lies, and absolutes with relativism (Isaiah 5:20), where cultural and educational elitism begins to rule as pride and arrogance are promoted at the highest levels (5:21), and national heroes are actually people who are sexually immoral and often addicted to substances that control their minds and actions (5:22)?
- What does God’s Word prescribe when a nation that was built upon the moral law of God descends into a place where injustice towards the poor and helpless reigns (Isaiah 5:23), and where the land becomes a place of growing lawlessness (5:24)?
Doesn’t that sound like the current moral condition of the United States of America?
The similarity is eerie, but actually every one of those five questions are behind what God Almighty Himself is asking to His Chosen People of Promise, the nation of Israel. The primary targets of these questions were the people that God Himself confronts in Isaiah 1-5.
As you sit with Isaiah open before you, may I ask a quick question? Why would we: in the New Testament Era, the Church Age, the time of Grace, turn back to the Old Testament, and start there as we study an important Biblical topic? Is there authority for our lives in the Old Testament?
God Called Isaiah to Consecration
From the Old Testament we find that our unchanging, immutable God has the same plan. To reach the godless society God called him to reach, Isaiah was told a timeless truth. More than anything you do, God is interested in who you are. The key to usefulness in life, doing what God designed us to do, is first being what God wants us to be.
Listen to God’s voice as He tells us the story of His call and preparation of Isaiah. In this chapter we’ll read we see 5 keys to a life that is useful to God. In the end, that is all that will matter.
Isaiah 6:1-13 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. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”
Simply stated we can conclude from a careful study of the Bible that:
God’s Desire for Each of us is Consecration
There are 3 stages that are keys to usefulness for God. There is a pathway for each of us who want to follow that leads us into daily, monthly, and life-long usefulness to God.
Here are the stages. Let me tell you what they are and then show them as they are described in these verses. God wants you and me to:
1-Remember God’s Holiness
2-Realize my Sinfulness
3-Receive God’s Cleansing
Now trace these truths into your Bibles with me. Write them down so that you can come back often and remind yourself of these simple truths that have been repeatedly taught and explained to God servants for all of the 2,700 years since God spoke them to Isaiah.
First, to be useful to God we must always:
1-Remember God’s Holiness
That is the message of Isaiah 6:1-4.
God is by nature holy. He is separate from sin, perfect, sinless, flawless and pure.
So no matter how compassionate He is, no matter how full of grace and overflowing with mercy: God is still Holy, Holy, Holy.
In the realm of eternity, around the Throne at the center of the Universe there is one word that is repeated regularly, over and over again. Holy, Holy, Holy is our God.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
The first key to any usefulness for eternity is: Remembering God’s holiness.
Thinking about His Holy Presence and standing before His Throne, and falling on our faces before Him, leads us to the second key.
Being useful to God means thinking long and deeply upon how far we fall short of His Glory, and how much we need His gracious, forgiving, and cleansing touch.
Second, to be useful to God I must always remember God’s Holiness as I:
2-Realize my Sinfulness
That is the message of Isaiah 6:5.
The closer we get to the Light, the more of our sinfulness we can see.
When Job came to understand the Almighty El-Shaddai he confessed (Job 42:5-6).
When Peter saw the power of God the Son displayed he cried out (Luke 5:8) “depart from me, I am a sinful man”.
And when John the Beloved Apostle, saw Christ in his unveiled glory on Patmos, he fell at His feet as if dead (Revelation 1:17).
The theme of those who stand around the Throne is that the Lamb who was slain, was slain for their sin. He gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20) was Paul’s testimony.
The closer we are to God’s Holiness the more I Realize my own personal Sinfulness.
Thirdly, to be useful to God I must always Remember God’s Holiness, Realize My Sinfulness, and then cry out and ask to:
3-Receive God’s Cleansing
That is the message of Isaiah 6:6-7.
When we Remember God’s Holiness, the Light of our Holy God makes us Realize our Sinfulness.
That leads us to the work of the Cross, to the sacrifice Christ offered once perfectly and completely to pay the penalty of sin for all who come by faith.
Usefulness comes to those who will be cleansed and who will walk in the light and stay full of God’s Spirit.
The most useful servant is a humble believer who readily confesses the complete cleansing that the gracious work of Jesus accomplished. Once we are assured of His cleansing the evil one can’t find a place to plant seeds of doubt and despair. We can affirm that God will never condemn me (Romans 8:1); and that though my sins were as deeply staining me as crimson I am white as snow in God’s sight. That truth makes us full of His hope, welling up with the joy of the Spirit, and kept by His Peace.
4-Respond to God’s Calling
Fourthly, Isaiah learned that usefulness to God meant that he had to (that is the message of Isaiah 6:8-10). Remember where we started? Most of us have heard of the Great Commission, but few of us have surrendered to it. God says that my usefulness is tied to a response to His call. God wants me offering my life back to Him. He wants me to be His servant.
A servant is simply one who does the will of another. God’s servants do His will. God has expressed His will through His Word, and in His church. We are called to be His people living for Him on earth. As a part of His church we are to gather and encourage one another more and more as the days get darker and the evil of the end of days overspreads the world. We are only called to do what only God can do through us. It isn’t about us, our calling is all about God. We are just the servants, the tool, the willing vessel that is clean and fit for the Master’s use.