Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10 - Isaiah, Prophet, Truthteller, Sealed by the Fire of God for the Service of God

Remember that it was in the year that the king named Uzziah died that Isaiah saw God sitting on God's throne high and lofty in God's heaven. As Isaiah stood in the temple--the place where God was said to dwell--he noticed that even the bottom of God's garment more than filled up the temple. As he looked heavenward he saw that there was a special kind of angel--a seraph--given to attending to God. Each of them had six wings but only used two to fly about in God's glory. With two of the wings they covered their faces to shield themselves from God's glory and with the other two they covered over their feet. They sang a joyous song one to another in a voice unlike singing and unlike yelling. The words of their proclamation were:"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; God's glory fills the whole earth."

At the sound of the seraph's proclamations and under the weight of God's glory the whole temple shook and groaned as it was filled with smoke. Isaiah was overcome by this fabulous vision and he cried out in a mix of awe and fear, "Woe is me and for me there is no hope. I am lost for I have seen God--the Lord of hosts--with my eyes and cannot tell others for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips." One of the seraphs removed a single coal from the fire that burned before God with a pair of tongs. It flew down to Isaiah and Isaiah quaked in recognition of what was happening. The seraph reached out the coal and touched it to Isaiah's lips. As it burned Isaiah the seraph said, "Now that God's fire has touched your lips your guilt is cast aside from you, your sin is blotted out and you are a man of clean lips."

Finally, God spoke and Isaiah listened. Indicating the people of Israel and the temple that Isaiah stood in, God asked, "Who should I send, Isaiah? Who will go and speak for us?"

Isaiah plucked up his courage and through lips burnt by God's spire he squeaked out, "Me, God. I'm here. Send me!"

Some time later after Isaiah had begun being a prophet of God he was sent to Ahaz to speak on behalf of God. Ahaz and many of the people were afraid that the foreign invaders at their door would overwhelm the city and slaughter the people. God had promised that these invaders would fail but Ahaz found it very hard to believe. Isaiah insisted that God would keep God's promises but Ahaz still balked. So, Isaiah said to Ahaz, "Ask for a sign of God's faithfulness. It can be as deep as Sheol or as high as God's heaven. God will prove it to you." Ahaz refused to do so and so Isaiah spoke again, "It's not enough that you worry the people but you feel the need to worry God, too? Fine, then, but listen closely because you're still getting a sign because God is still faithful even if you refuse to see it." Walking to another point in the room he pointed at a woman and continued, "Look here at this young woman. She is already carrying a child within her. She'll give birth and they shall call the boy 'Immanuel' (or God is with us).By the time the boy is old enough to refuse evil and choose God for himself God will already have solved Israel's problem and taken care of the two kings that terrify you so much. So keep your eyes open and know that God will keep God's promises."

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