SEE, HEAR, SPEAK, CONFER!
Loving Lord, I praise You for the joy that comes because You are for me, with me, and within me each day.
Read ISAIAH 6
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.[a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”
And he answered:
“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
- Isaiah 6:10 Hebrew; Septuagint ‘You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; / you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ / 10 This people’s heart has become calloused; / they hardly hear with their ears, / and they have closed their eyes
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.’1
I feel about today’s verses in the same way that Isaiah felt about his vision. I certainly can’t comprehend it in one go! Do I look with him at the glory and the holiness and the awesomeness of God, which makes Isaiah – and me – so aware of our own weakness and sinfullness? Or do I rejoice in the possibility of guilt and sin being taken away and wonder at the opportunity given to respond to God’s call and to assist God in His mission to reveal His Word to humans? Do I think about what this passage tells me about calling, or do I focus on the words God speaks and the devastating message He wants Isaiah to take to his people? Or maybe I should ponder the way that God is willing to interact with Isaiah, responding to his questioning? Perhaps at different times and stages in our lives we need to hear and learn different things and therefore, different elements of the message this passage contains will stand out as God speaks to us individually!
One wonders why, as this chapter sets out Isaiah’s call, it wasn’t placed at the beginning of the book. It seems important that we see this vision, and maybe the prophecies in the next chapters about the future Redeemer that God will send, in the context of the corruption that is all around them, as it is around us, and the neglect of God’s requirements even among His own people. It is tempting, maybe especially in Isaiah, to read only what are sometimes called ‘purple passages’, which concentrate on hope, encouragement, and deliverance, but if we are to treat Scripture seriously, we need to read these passages in their context where a possible future of defeat and destruction is also envisaged.
Try taking time to skim-read Isaiah, noting where and why you stop and focus on some verses, but skip over others!
Heavenly Father, You call me beyond myself; You send me beyond my imagination; You empower me beyond my capacity. I praise You.
1 Luke 1:46,47,49
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