The Vision and The Call
We are not sure how many persons God has chosen to minister as His prophets. Surely there are several whose names we do not know. But no doubt exists concerning the office of Isaiah. He was one of the greatest of all prophets, especially selected by God to give to mankind God’s message of hope and salvation.
It is probable that Isaiah came from a family prominent in government, for he was active in the life of the king’s court throughout much of his life. He was a competent historian for several kings. A gifted writer, his style shows refinement and culture. His language is poetic and contains dramatic expressions. As a lover of nature and a keen observer of human behavior, he was able to write so that common people can understand. Yet, as a well educated statesman, he wrote in a manner that commands the attention of historians and scholars. He proclaimed God’s words in speech and writing for about sixty years and saw many of his prophecies come to pass in his own lifetime.
We have learned that God speaks to His chosen ones during times of great need and uses them to affect the lives of others. We have noticed that God speaks through His prophets when His people are in danger of destruction because of sin and idolatry. These conditions were true in the experience of Isaiah. People were at war with fierce enemies. Besides that, many of them were disobedient to God and even worshipped idols. They were thoughtless and unfair in their relations with others.
Worst of all, they refused to see their sin and their need. They kept on making animal sacrifices and performing ceremonial rituals and fasts in the name of religion. They were proud and acted as though God granted them special rights. Isaiah realized all this, and spoke out to the people, saying, “Listen, O earth!”
Then God allowed him to see a marvelous vision. “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted,” said Isaiah. “Above Him were burning ones, seraphs, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. They were calling to one another: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty; and the whole earth is full of His glory.”
Isaiah was amazed. Then the doorposts and thresholds shook and the room was filled with smoke. Isaiah knew that he was in the presence of the Holy One. He felt frightened and cried out, “Woe to me! 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 Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to the altar, where a fire was smoldering. With tongs he lifted a live coal and touched it to the lips of Isaiah.
“This has touched your lips,” said the seraph, “and your guilt is taken away; your sin is gone.”
Then the voice of God said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me.”
“Go,” said God, “Go and give my message to the people. Go and warn them of the judgment which will come because of their evil ways. But tell them also, that God is with them, and He will send redemption to those who will open their ears to listen and their eyes to see the truth. He will send a redeemer whose name will be called Immanuel, which means, “God among us.”