This week we get a look into Isaiah’s commission as a prophet. He sees a vision and God is in it. Isaiah is forgiven of his sins, then is given instruction on what to prophecy and for how long. Isaiah may have experienced this vision while in the temple (v. 1), but this is not confirmed. We will look at this chapter in two sections: the first section (vs. 1-8) describes Isaiah’s vision and the second section (vs. 8-13) describes Isaiah’s comission as a prophet.
In verses 1-8, Isaiah sees God in his vision, surrounded by angels that are praising Him. God’s voice and presence are heavy and dominant. As the result of being in God’s presence, Isaiah is immediately aware of his state as a man that has sinned. Isaiah feels his own sin acutely in the presence of God, who can do no wrong and from whom all righteousness flows. So Isaiah says: “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.” Isaiah 6:5
The burning coal that one of the angels uses to touch Isaiah’s lips is to purge Isaiah of His sins and make him worthy to be a prophet of God.
In verses 8-13, God asks who will speak for Him and Isaiah responds with willingness to go: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
God then tells Isaiah that the people will not heed the warnings. They will hear the admonitions to return to God, but they will not obey. Because of this, God will allow other armies to come and level their cities. However, there will be a portion of the people, a remnant, that will still be faithful to God throughout all of these tribulations.
A powerful image is given of the desolated Israel: a stump. Israel as a great tree had flourished yet is finally cut down due to their disobedience. Yet the stump remains, and this stump has been obedient and righteous.
An important lesson we can take away from Isaiah 6 is that God’s existence is a thing to be feared. We see how He makes the Israelites suffer and this results from His power. We see how He makes Isaiah tremble and this results from His power. The question we all have to answer in our lives is: Will we be like the Israelites and ignore God or will we come to know, love and obey Him through the Bible?
It is impossible to avoid this choice.