Tuesday, July 30, 2019


The Revival of a Great Prophet-6

The Speakers and the Listeners-2

Isaiah’s cleansing

It is an amazing truth that a prophet of God also needs continuous cleansing. It is equally astonishing that the prophet of God cries out loud declaring the unworthiness of his unclean lips. Unclean lips come from the unclean heart which is the seat of all evil and wickedness. But we do not know if Isaiah expected a fiery and painful cleansing like that which he experienced in the Throne room. We must realize that God cleanses with fire and not with detergent. This heavenly cleansing is part of the burning off of the wicked tongue which pronounces woe on people without realizing own wickedness and wicked tongue. All preachers ought to take this matter very seriously and live in continuous repentance and cleansing. Along with that, we ought to be fearful of how and for what we might pray because we do not know how God is going to answer our prayers.

God also teaches Isaiah that if he is cleansed and if it subsequently results in a ministry of cleansing the people with God’s Word and His Spirit, then only will there be a spiritual revolution among the people. Often such a spiritual revolution is not taking place among the people of God because of such a revolution, renewal, and revival is not taking place among those whom God has appointed to lead and guide His people.

It is very interesting to see that when a servant of God repented and cried out for cleansing, even the seraphs understood his confession. They were the administrators of grace in the Kingdom of God and they quickly took the initiative to help Isaiah with the cleansing process. It follows that Isaiah’s repentance was acceptable to God. But there was now the need for a painful, complete, radical and dynamic cleansing process for God’s servant to be renewed, refreshed, revitalized and revived. Isaiah understood that God’s cleansing process is not a self-improvement programme, but a God-directed, God-controlled and God-centered holy cleansing programme where the old self is burned off and a renewed preacher emerges in its place.

For every committed and repentant preacher, there is a burning experience waiting for him. God’s live coal is available and ready to cleanse every preacher provided he is ready and willing to go through the process and bear the cost of cleansing. Why the angel is using a tong to pick up the live coal? It is only to show that what is happening is real and an extremely painful process to handle.  It will penetrate, pierce, cleanse, bleach and burn off every stain that is inflicted because of sin.

Why the seraph is flying to Isaiah to cleanse him? It shows the swiftness with which the cleansing process is to be attended to so that the tongue can be of maximum usefulness to the Lord for the longest period of time. No cleansing means no ministry and the servant not qualified to minister.

The seraph is given the privilege to declare the administration of cleansing the tongue of the prophet and commission his readiness to minister. He is now declared holy and is given the privilege to attribute holiness to the Lord. It included total healing of the sin sickness of the prophet including his tongue, his eyes and the environment in which he ministered. He is now ready to be recommissioned by the Lord and his ministry renewed.

Finally, the Lord Speaks

The last speaker in this scenario is the Lord who has been quietly watching the story unfolds. He is not in a hurry to speak. He is waiting until His servant is ready and prepared to listen. So the Lord awaits true confession and repentance from His choice servants. As He begins to speak, He has something to say to all of us individually. Why he is tarrying is to see if we confess our sins and iniquities to Him. He doesn’t usually speak to people when they have unconfessed sins in their lives. He waits till the hearts are adequately prepared and moved so that His utterances will create an impact in their hearts. He expects a response from each of his listeners and waits for them to be prepared to respond positively. But how will the people become prepared and ready until their prophets, priests, kings and preachers are prepared and renewed?

The Lord announces a call for willing individuals to obey Him and to be sent by Him. He waits for volunteers who are ready to obey Him no matter the consequence. Whoever is willing to obey Him may come and demonstrate to Him that he is willing to be sent by Him.

The utterance from the Lord underscores the powerful statement of the Trinity. It is the call of the Lord and equally the call of the Triune God who is perfectly united in the call. It has to be taken with the greatest seriousness of those who listen to Him (Isaiah 6:8). Everyone everywhere is included in this call and no one is spared. But it is a general call for which specific response is expected from everyone. Those who have grace will only be able to respond to the call. If only a person is sufficiently moved by the glory of the Lord will he want to serve the Lord and obey His call to go wherever He wants to send him?

It is interesting to see how the Lord didn’t give Isaiah the prerogative to decide where to go and do whatever he wanted to do in serving Him. These are decided by the Sender and the servant’s responsibility it is to go as he is sent wherever the Lord is willing to send him. His mission was to declare whatever the Lord wants which had to be communicated to the people as per His enabling. The servant cannot have his personal agenda or scheme to perpetuate, but it has to be solely the Lord’s programme. The only qualification that the Lord expects for the servant is that He is called, sent and enabled by the Lord. Along with the burning of his tongue, the Lord expects all his earthly qualification to be burned off so that whatever the servant does will be solely directed by the Lord and nothing else. The servant is to come with the motto: “Just As I AM”, totally dependent on the Lord and His resources.

A Two-sided call

The Almighty makes two subtle expressions in this call. First He asks as to whom He shall send. This is the desire and will of the Lord for all His servants. This call is open to all who listen, obey and are available to be sent. It is the divine will to send out those who are willing and volunteering to go. At the same time, the call is open to those who commit themselves to go. The command is not to go for the individual’s own agenda. If they are going, they must go for Him and not for anyone else. 

Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord and he responded instantly. He heard the commandment that the servant must go and declare a specific message to the people of God. The message is articulated in specific dimensions.  It is a message of warning, correction, reprove and counsel along with consequences for disobedience. It is a message which is to penetrate into the hearts and minds of God’s people to accomplish what the Lord wants in and through their lives.

We see Isaiah in a face to face confrontation with the stark reality of a disobedient nation and their concerned Redeemer. The Redeemer waits patiently for the nation to come back and sends His message for them to return through His servant Isaiah. His message to the present world is also the same. He wants committed, prepared and willing servants to ready themselves to go and preach until at least a remnant will come back to Him with a repentant and broken heart.
(To Continue)

Monday, July 1, 2019


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.