Here’s this months’ Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
“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. 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. And one cried to another and said “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory”.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.” 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. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” 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.” (Isaiah 6:1-8)
We had a great time last month down at Hilary Court. Unfortunately, the weather turned nasty just as we arrived, which kept a lot of people away. We still managed to give away lots of Gospel tracts, and some of the team still managed to have great conversations, though. Please pray that God will use the seeds that were planted or watered that day, for His glory.
Hey, I wonder if you feel like me sometimes (I know I do). I go to witness to someone, but then a feeling of total inadequacy envelops me. Not because I don’t think I can do it, but because I’m not worthy enough. How can God use someone like me? I feel like a big hypocrite when I know that I’m just as big a sinner as the person I am talking to.
Well, we can glean a lot of comfort from the call of Isaiah.
In the 6th chapter of the book of Isaiah, he takes us back to how he received his commission as a prophet. He was given a heavenly vision of God’s throne room, with all its’ wonders – the train of His robe filling the temple; the two seraphim flying with their face and feet covered, all the while singing of God’s holiness and glory.
And then Isaiah becomes suddenly aware of his uncleanliness. This is not surprising, given the contrast. Pure light can do that to you.
When I was a kid, I had this flashlight that I used to read with under the blankets, after lights out. When it’s really dark, and the light is bright enough, you can do silly things like covering the light with your hand. When you do this, you can see the skeletal bones in your hand. It can look quite creepy.
And that’s what Isaiah had to contend with. The perfect light of God’s glory exposes the innermost sin, no matter how hard we try to hide it. It was then that Isaiah realised just how sinful he was, stating he was ‘undone’, or exposed, and that he was a ‘man of unclean lips’, just like everybody else in the land.
So God sends an angel with a coal from the altar of incense, to purify his lips. Why his lips? Possibly because “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:34). Our mouth only speaks what the heart loves, and when the heart is filled with sin, it naturally flows out of the mouth.
The coal on his lips is imagery of the pain of repentance of the heart leading to the removal of our sins. Isaiah’s heart and lips were purified. This mirrors what an unbeliever goes through: sin being exposed, the sinner painfully repenting, and God removing his sins and declaring him righteous. That’s the Gospel right there.
It is after all of this that God asks the question “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
When I read this, I have a chuckle to myself. I picture God like a parent in front of a toddler, saying out loud “Now I wonder, who before me is righteous? Who has purified lips that can send? And Isaiah’s answer coming, “ooh, pick me, pick me!” “Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah went out, not on his own strength, but with the stamp of approval of God. And this is also the rock of truth we can all stand on, and take comfort in.
Here are some other things I’ve discovered while reading Isaiah’s call:
God’s call was undisputed
There was perfect unity of the Godhead in the call.
“Who will go for Us?” was the question. The Godhead were united in their search for a herald. In the same way, when you are commissioned to evangelise, you have the full backing and power of the triune Godhead going with you into all the world. Jesus confirmed this when He commanded you to make and baptise disciples ‘in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’. This is the seal by which, as His ambassador, you carry out the task before you. Let that thought strengthen you as you go!
God’s call was unimaginable.
He uses unholy people to perform a holy task.
He could have spoken, and got the job done Himself. Remember, we are talking about the same God that spoke, and all creation came into existence from nothing. But rather, He chose you, with your unclean lips. He has purified these by fire and coal – to do the task on His behalf. You can go out with God’s grace and strength. When you see it in this light, evangelism becomes a privilege, not a drag!
Isaiah’s response was unwavering
Isaiah responded without hesitation.
He didn’t say “Wait, Lord, I need to bury my father” (as in Matt 8:21).
He didn’t say “I can’t be bothered – maybe tomorrow”.
He didn’t say “it’s too inconvenient right now”.
He just said “Here am I, Lord”.
So many opportunities will come your way, but inevitably you will miss them, probably because you aren’t in the habit of looking out for them. Are you ready to share the Gospel whenever the opportunity comes your way, or are you so focused on your task at hand, that lost people pass by you, oblivious to their pending destruction?
Isaiah’s response was unconditional.
Isaiah responded without placing any conditions on the call.
He didn’t say “Yes, Lord, I will go to this place, and this place, but not that place” (as with the prophet Jonah).
He didn’t say “I will go and witness to this person, and this person, but not that person”.
He didn’t say “This person deserves to go to heaven, but not this one!”
He just said “Send me”.
How many conditions do you place on your calling? Are you prepared to just say ‘yes’ without exception, or are you playing God by sharing the best news people will ever hear, with just a select few?
I hope this encourages you in your walk!
Jarryd is facilitating the street witnessing for the next couple of months while I’m away, so keep an eye and ear out for what’s happening!