Friday, December 4, 2009

12/4- Isa. 6:1-10The majesty of God, Our Poverty and our Calling

(Isaiah by Raphael)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

11/19- Isaiah 6:1-10

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" 9 He said, "Go and tell this people: " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' 10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed."

Calvin abridged: “Holy, Holy, Holy”- Though the angels describe One God in three persons (it is impossible to praise God without also uttering the praises of the Father, Son, and Spirit); yet this passage mainly tells us of the angels’ repetition and unwearied perseverance. “The whole earth is full of his glory”- means that God’s glory shines in every region and was not just confined to Israel. “Woe to me…for I am a man of unclean lips”- The Prophet was so terrified by seeing God that he expected his immediate destruction. People are swelled with vain confidence in their wisdom or strength until they encounter God. But when we have seen God, we begin to feel and know what we really are. So humility springs from our dependence on God. Whenever the godly fathers saw God, they broke out into similar words (Judges 13:22). Until our minds earnestly draw near to God, our life is a proud delusion. But when God draws near to us, he brings light with him, so that we may perceive our worthlessness, which we could not formerly see because of a false opinion of ourselves. The Prophet mentions his lips as unclean because as a Prophet his tongue was most valuable to him and consecrated to God. “I dwell among a people of unclean lips”- he includes himself as an individual in the midst of the common people. God is our judged and nothing is concealed or unknown to Him. In His sight our “purity” is impure. And if this happened to the Prophet, what should we think of ourselves? So the lips of all people are impure and polluted until the Lord has cleaned them. “Whom shall I send?” This passage reminds us that Isaiah was not chosen at random, but that the Lord chose and appointed him. God, who knows all things, has no need to make an inquiry; but that we should see that God acts with thought, he accommodates himself to the way people normally speak. “Who will go for us”- this passage points to the Three Persons of the Godhead, since it is a plural number (cf. Gen. 1:26). “Here am I”- such a quick reply shows how faith elicits cheerfulness; for the one who recently lay like a dead man dreads no difficulty. We cannot undertake anything in a proper manner without the certainty of our calling, otherwise we will hesitate at every step. It is also important to our confidence that we know we have the necessary gifts that God has given to us to fulfill our calling. The Prophet is ready to obey the commands of God. Isaiah was called to teach not just for a moment but for sixty-six years to a people who would not listen but harden their hearts. We ought earnestly beware of despising God when He calls.

Thoughts: This is one of the great passages of scripture. It teaches the majesty of God. The “us’ here is the royal, majestic plural (and I believe it does infer the trinity too). It gives us a glimpse of heaven where the focus of life is clear and is centered on God who is absolutely worthy of our praise. In comparison to God’s glory and majesty we are nothing, and our sinfulness is clear and our pretensions and masks are stripped away. Yet God is still able to cleanse us, call us, and use us. When God is willing to do this, we should not hesitate to respond to Him. Isaiah had a terrible calling- speaking to an obstinate people who would eventually kill him. For most of us, our calling is much easier but less responsible. Yet we too are encouraged by this passage to see God’s greatness, our smallness, and the importance of the work God calls us to do—whatever that may be.

Prayer: Today, Lord, I recognize your majesty and my own sin. Today I am here for you. Use me as you will.

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