Isaiah 6:5, NIV
‘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’.
Like Isaiah have you been ruined, ruined for anything less than a major touch from God? In the Old Testament, a prophet was a person who had great intimacy with God in heaven which gave them the authority of God upon the earth. In Isaiah Chapter 6 we read about the vision Isaiah received of God and his calling as a prophet. At that time he felt unfit to be in God’s holy presence, but God graciously sent an angel to bring Isaiah assurance of forgiveness and cleansing.
Isaiah’s name means ‘Yahweh is salvation’ and Isaiah went on to prophesy very extensively about the coming Messiah, our Lord Jesus. The apostle John tells us this about Isaiah ‘he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him’ (John 12:41).
As I was preparing to speak on this sixth chapter of Isaiah, God touched me powerfully and asked me the question He asked Isaiah, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ I found myself replying in the same way as Isaiah did in verse 8, ‘Here I am! Send me’. And God said to me as He did to Isaiah, ‘Go’.
I’m conscious that those of us who teach about God need to know Him for ourselves in a personal way. God is pleased to commission us and to send us out. But those whom God sends are themselves sinners, and we could all ask the question, ‘who is sufficient for this’? I believe we shouldn’t just set ourselves up as preachers and teachers. We have to be commissioned like Isaiah. In Romans 10:15 the apostle Paul asks “how can they preach unless they are sent?” I would say we have to be ‘ruined’ for anything less than God Himself.
The writer of Hebrews mentions many characters from the Old Testament who suffered for their faith and says of some ‘they were sawn in two’, and Jewish tradition has it that Isaiah was martyred in this way by King Manasseh. When we respond to God and are commissioned to go, are we willing to pay the ultimate price if that’s required of us? This is an important question and we need to know the answer to it before the day when we’re required to make such a decision. Nowadays more Christians are being persecuted for their faith than at any previous time. I personally sensed God saying to me, “Are you willing to pay the ultimate price as many of the prophets did?” How could I answer this question? Only ‘Lord, the desire of my heart is to stand for you and to finish the race, and I look to You to strengthen me for whatever You have for me in the future.’
Prayer: Dear Lord God, would You come and touch our lips with the coals from Your altar so we know our guilt is taken away and our sin is atoned for. Would You help us to speak out Your life-changing words of truth and to say today, ‘Lord, here I am. Send me.’ Let this be so in our individual lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.