Just as I heard God asking “Where in the Bible does it say we will win the world by getting them into church?”, the prophet Isaiah also heard a question from God. One day while serving in the temple, Isaiah was overwhelmed by a vision of God in all his power and might. Confronted by the glory of God, Isaiah confessed his sin, and God forgave him. Before we can answer God’s most penetrating questions, he wants to do business with our hearts. Before God can use us we must be broken of our ego and self-centeredness. When Isaiah saw God’s incredible glory, he was awestruck. But he didn’t just stand there thrilled at the awesome display of God’s glory as great entertainment. No, Isaiah was immediately overwhelmed by his own inadequacy and sinfulness. I imagine that he fell down prostrate before Almighty God, his voice trembling, tears in his eyes. “Woe to me, I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips . . .”
Brokenness is an appointment with God that you can’t make, because God makes it with you. If the Lord God can’t work with me, then he will work without me. His mission to redeem the world to himself will be accomplished with or without us. If we allow our heart and ego to be broken, God can use us in his redemption plan for the world. The way up is down; we become instruments of God’s grace when we fall on our face before his presence. God’s call to us, like his call to Isaiah, begins with brokenness. The call of God always starts there, of course.
But God’s call also includes the call to discipleship and mission. God commissioned Isaiah to go to his people and proclaim his prophetic Word. Isaiah might have devalued this vision as simply an emotional reaction to grief over the death of his king. But God made the vision concrete when he said “Go.” Isaiah could have ignored God’s call to mission, fulfilling his duties to the Church Train in the operation of temple life.
But God said, “Go.”
The message that God told Isaiah to preach was not an easy one. It was a promise of captivity because God’s people had abandoned what he told them to be and to do. They had hardened their hearts toward God, and God said Isaiah’s prophetic message would only harden their hearts further, certainly not an inviting job to be called to accomplish. Isaiah probably wanted to run and hide from such a confrontational message.
But God said, “Go.”
Isaiah responded, “Here am I, send me.”
If God told you to take a message to his church that was unpopular and would be rejected, would you say “Here am I, send me?” If God called you to lead your church or worship ministry on mission to the hardened souls in your own community, would you say, “Here am I, send me?” God is calling. So what will you say to God?
Click here to see a dramatic interpretation of Isaiah 6 by my friend Owen Robertson: http://www.scbaptist.org/resources/video-library/isaiah-6/82
– Mark Powers