The Commission of Isaiah -- By: John H. Fish III

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 04:1 (Summer 1995)
Article: The Commission of Isaiah
Author: John H. Fish III


The Commission of Isaiah

John H. Fish III1

An Exposition of Isaiah 6:1–13

Introduction

Preachers often speak on Isaiah, chapter six because of the vision of the awesome majesty and holiness of God presented there. They also speak on the call of Isaiah and his response to God. “Then 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!’” (6:8). But not many continue in the chapter to dwell on the specific message Isaiah is told to preach because this message shocks us. Isaiah is told,

“Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed” (6:9–10).

This sounds harsh and startles us. It seems incompatible with the love and grace of God. Isaiah is told to render them insensitive to the truth so that they might not understand, return to the Lord, and be healed. How could this be the message of “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3–4)? Could the Lord who is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9) keep men

and women from salvation by preventing them from understanding the message of the Gospel?

To understand the commission of Isaiah we must first understand the context of his call, both in terms of the times in which he lived (6:1) and in terms of the revelation of the majesty and holiness of God which is seen in verses 1–6. Isaiah, chapter six consists of two parts. Verses 1–7 describe Isaiah’s vision and cleansing while verses 8–13 describe his call and commission. The first part is the preparation for the second.

The Vision of the Lord

In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple (6:1).

The Time of Isaiah...
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