“I heard the voice of the Lord saying …” Isaiah 6:8
There have been a number of occasions in the life of this writer when someone has claimed to have a word from the Lord for me or the church I have been attending. In each case they were exposed as false by the Word of God but to whom does the Lord speak?
By giving us a specific example Isaiah also gives us general revelation of the conditions and the kind of person to whom the Lord speaks. The specific details of each communication will be different in each case but we are able to discern details that are common in each.
As we read chapter six of Isaiah we notice first that it was the Lord who initiated contact. It was not Isaiah. In that initial contact the Lord introduced Himself by seraphim and revealed His glory and holiness (v 3). We are unable to see the glory and the holiness of God unless He reveals Himself to us. Fallen and unredeemed people can never see God in His glory and holiness and neither can the carnal or worldly Christian.
The reaction of Isaiah is the reaction of any person who sees the glory and holiness of God. In the light of God’s holiness we will more accurately see our exceeding sinfulness. Isaiah was fully aware of his exceeding sinfulness in the light of God’s glorious and holy presence (v 5).
When he responded by surrendering his life to the Lord, the Lord gave him a message to preach. On hearing the message he may have wondered what he had gotten into because he knew it would not be a popular message. It may have been concern over the reception of the message that provoked him to ask how long the message would need to be preached (v 11). The response would have done nothing to ease his concern. The message would be preached until Israel has been all but erased and only a remnant remained (vv 11-13; cf. 11:20-23; Ch. 11).
We have a message to proclaim until Jesus Christ returns. It is a message that most do not want to hear but for the sake of those who do want to hear it we proclaim it.
Why did the Lord choose Isaiah? Of course there are a number of considerations regarding God’s sovereignty and purposes in history but an important one that is relevant to us is that Isaiah had a history of positive response to the Lord and an acute awareness of his own sinfulness. This is a picture of the person the Lord is pleased to speak with and use in His mission.