The revival of a Great Prophet-5
The Speakers and the Listeners
The Speaking Seraphs
The seraphs are the only speakers in the first part of this scenario as they attribute holiness to the Lord. These angelic beings heard from each other the praises of their mouths. Their Lord heard it all loud and clear. Prophet Isaiah was also able to hear it all. It spoke to him in a mighty and powerful manner. The seraphs spoke out of strong convictions. They had heard, seen and experienced the Lord, as did John the Apostle when he wrote about his experience in John 1:1. The seraphs, in essence, ask Isaiah as to whether he has seen and experienced the Lord. There was a challenge to Isaiah to get to know the Lord in His glory. It was time for Isaiah to respond.
The seraphs knew something about the turmoil that was going on among God’s people and the situation related to the departure of King Uzziah. But even in such a situation, the Seraphs didn’t speak to the Lord about it, but only recognizing and affirming about His being above all the problems around them. In essence, the utterances of the seraphs were focused on the Lord and His power rather than on the problems that were looming large above the head of Isaiah and the people of Israel. They worshipped and served the Lord and committed the future to Him. The national situation has not affected them because they knew the power and wisdom of their Lord who was above all circumstances and situations. This was sufficient to greatly embarrass the prophet of God who should have known better had he known the Lord well.
Isaiah the speaker
Isaiah was a bold and powerful preacher of Israel who was charging the nation against their sinfulness. His words were convicting and his tone was sharp. He declared curse unto the people several times in the preceding five chapters of his book. He offered a message of forgiveness to those who were willing to confess and pronounced strong action from the Lord to those who were unwilling to listen and change their ways. He gave the people the right diagnosis for their sin sicknesses. He made spiritual prescriptions for their ailments. This is the prophet who has now been found to be dumbfounded at the engagement of the seraphs at the exposure of the glory of the Lord.
In the first five chapters, Isaiah pronounced “woe” unto the people of God seven times. He had no doubt that they deserved cruse from the Lord for their sinful lifestyle and attitudes. The depth of the woe that was pronounced on Israel was such that it would break our hearts as we read it. There is no doubt that those who violate God’s laws deserve such punitive measures from God. Of course, these punishments were intended for the people to repent and get back to God. The prophet has been in the past pointing his finger at the direction of the people and spoke to those who deserve such a warning. Now his own fingers are pointing at him.
Isaiah could not utter the words, “Holy, Holy, Holy” because of the inadequacies in his life. His tongue was not as holy as it ought to be. Even though he was burning inside, it was not totally for his Lord, but for his ministry and for himself as the prophet with his position and privileges. But when he saw the interaction of the seraphim in their articulated intimacy with the Lord, Isaiah felt like he has not arrived at the place of total commitment.
Here we see a crying Isaiah. He felt his own need to cry aloud and confess publicly. He realized his sinfulness which stood on his way to approach the Throne of his Lord like the seraphim. Now he forgets all about the context of his entering the Throne room of the King. As he saw the vision of the lifted up Lord, the death of Uzziah and the corresponding national confusion was no more the prime concern in his heart. He became more concerned about his relationship with the Lord and his access to Him. The renewal of a prophet is slowly taking place in the Throne room of the Lord. The Lord was getting his servant Isaiah fully into His fold and control. A great change is being ushered into the life of the prophet.
If the great prophet needed such a revolutionary change, how much would be the need for such a change in us today as we try to live for the glory of the Lord?
"Woe unto me!"
The preacher who pronounced woe unto the people of Israel seven times in the first five chapters is now loudly and powerfully pronouncing woe unto himself. Here we find the prophet with the deepest contrition about his own sinfulness. It is a sincere confession at which he agrees with God that he is sinful and inadequate to access the Lord. It is the confession of the whole person whereby his tongue, heart, eyes and environment are sinful and he is no more embarrassed to bear his inner person stark naked before the Lord. In other words, the prophet confesses sinfulness of his five senses. He recognizes that God’s holy presence has caused him to see his true nature. He is not simply saying a ‘social expression of being sorry’, or expressing remorse. His confession is total, unconditional, and without reservation. He feels horrible about his wickedness, inadequacies and unholy attitude and cries desperately for cleansing and pardon.
The Word of God is clear that if there is no repentance, the Holy Spirit living in a believer will be grieved and over a period of time will be quenched. Thus the impact of the Spirit of God in the ministry will be gone which the people will often realize. We find an array of confessing saints in the Bible including John the Apostle, Job and Paul. John confessed his inadequacy and fell as though dead before the Lord who appeared in glory before him (Revelation 1:17). Job confessed his nothingness before God when he met with the God of the impossible (Job 42:2-6). As we read and meditate on Isaiah Six, we are confronted with the reality that we all need a life of continuous confession and repentance in order to live a holy life with a holy detachment of the worldly and holy attachment to the heavenly.
Isaiah didn’t repent in the Throne Room because he heard a sermon on repentance. He didn’t repent because someone told him about the need for it. Inasmuch as these are desperately needed ministries among God’s people, it is not imperative that human hand is always necessary for repentance to become a reality in the life of a servant of God. It is possible that the heavenly wave of repentance will sweep away even the most inhibited life because the vision of the Lord and the magnificence of His presence with His unexplainable glory will enter into the hearts of people to confess and repent. God speaks in mysterious ways and through unexpected circumstances. It is likely that the people would then be shocked to hear that their prophet has confessed and repented of his sinfulness. But that is a greater witness to the fact that even a preacher and a prophet would need as much repentance as in the case of an ordinary believer. If such an impact of the glory and magnificence of the Lord is not seen in a servant of God, we would not wonder why his ministries do not touch the lives of people. Every minister of the Word needs to be ministered unto before he ministers to the people. Every repentant minister will lead people to confession and tears of repentance which will touch the lives of people and impact them for the Lord. This might be the greatest message we will be able to learn from the life and ministry of Isaiah, the prophet.