Study 9 ISAIAH: STEPS INTO BLESSING
(Scripture Portion: Isaiah 6: 1 - 9)
It is the plan and purpose of God that every one of His servants should enter into an abiding experience of fulness of spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ. Many have to confess that their experience is often one of defeat and failure. What are the steps which lead to fulness of blessing - to a life of victorious living and serving? Notice the following sequence:-
1. The First Step: CONTEMPLATION.
All vital Christian experience begins with a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah was worshipping in the temple, when, suddenly, he was over-awed with a tremendous sense of the Lord’s presence - see verses 1 - 5.
- He saw Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate glory. “I saw the Lord… ” (verse 1) - that is, the glory that was His before He came to earth to be our Saviour – compare John 12: 41 and 17: 5. He saw the eternal Son of God, who was (and is) one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in creation (Colossians 1: 16), and in redemption (Hebrews 1: 1-3).
- He saw Him reigning. “ …seated on a throne” (verse 1). The earthly throne was empty. It is wonderful in these days of uncertainty to know that there is a throne established for ever in Heaven (Psalm 45: 6).
- He saw the Lord being worshipped. “… high and exalted …” (verses 1 – 2). The angelic beings were paying homage to the One who alone is worthy of their worship, and of ours.
- He saw His purity and holiness (verse 3). Even the celestial beings had to cover their faces, so blinding was the awful purity of the Lord.
- He saw His power. He is spoken of as “the Lord Almighty” (verses 3 and 5).
- He saw His majesty. “… my eyes have seen the King” (verse 5).
- He saw a glimpse of His future glory. “The whole earth is full of His glory” (verse 3). That will be true one day - look up Isaiah chapter 35.
2. The Second Step: CONVICTION.
This sevenfold vision of the Lord produced in Isaiah a deep humbling and a conviction of sin - “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (verse 5); and the only thing which will produce a consciousness of sin is a vision of the Lord - look up and compare Job (42: 5 - 6); Peter (Luke 5: 8) and John (Revelation 1:17). How sinful we see ourselves to be in the light of His awful purity! We discover, with Isaiah, that sin separates from God, for the word “ruined” should literally read, “cut off” - compare Isaiah 59: 1 - 2. Sin separates from God, and in Matthew 27: 46 we have a terrible illustration of the power of sin to separate from God, when He, “who had no sin”, bore this separation for us (2 Corinthians 5: 21). What then should we do with our sin?
3. The Third Step: CONFESSION.
In verse 5 we read that Isaiah said, “I am a man of unclean lips… ” This is the only way to get rid of sin - confess it. It is no good trying to cover it; it must be forsaken – look up Proverbs 28: 13. Notice that Isaiah’s besetting sin had to do with his lips, and when he made his confession to the Lord it was not a general confession, but a particular confession. He did not say, “Woe to me… I am a sinner”; he said, “Woe to me… I am a man of unclean lips… ” He confessed to the Lord the particular sin of which he had been convicted. What happens when we do this?
4. The Fourth Step: CLEANSING.
Look at verses 6 and 7. May we suggest that:-
- The “seraphs” represent the Holy Spirit.
- The “live coal” speaks of the precious blood of Christ.
- The “altar” speaks of Calvary’s cross.
It is when we confess our sins that the Holy Spirit applies the blood which was shed on Calvary, and we are cleansed - 1 John 1: 7 - 9. God demands clean servants. He cannot use unclean instruments - look up Isaiah 52: 11, and compare 2 Corinthians 7: 1. If we confess our sin to the Lord, we shall then be able to enjoy that intimate communion with Him which makes it possible for us to hear His voice.
5. The Fifth Step: CHALLENGE.
Look at verse 8. “I heard the voice of the Lord… ” But notice that Isaiah only heard the Lord after he had experienced the cleansing. God is wanting men and women whom He can commission and equip to go forth in His Name to preach His Word among the nations. Why do not more hear Him saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”? Is it because of sin in the lives of God’s people? There is such desperate need today for men and women, and especially young men who will be willing to place their lives fully at the disposal of the Lord for specialised missionary work abroad and for gospel and teaching ministry at home. What comes next?
6. The Sixth Step: CONSECRATION.
Look at verse 8. When Isaiah became conscious of the Lord’s need of a man he did two things:
- He dedicated himself to the Lord. He said, “Here am I… ”
- He dedicated himself to the Lord’s service. He not only said, “Here am I… ”, but he also said, “Send me” - indicating that he was willing to go just where the Lord would have him go.
It is vitally important to notice that in this matter of dedication the Lord wants us before He wants our service. He wants both, but first it must be, “Here am I… ” – and then, “Send me!” Then what?
7. The Seventh Step: COMMISSION.
“ …He said, Go and tell this people” (verse 9). Now we can see why God wanted to cleanse Isaiah’s lips; it was because He wanted him to go and tell. How wonderful that the sinning “member”, when cleansed by the Lord, is the “member” He will use for His glory! – look up Romans 6: 13. Notice to whom Isaiah had to go - the people amongst whom he dwelt. That is always true. Wherever you or I may be, it is just there that the Lord wants us to witness for Him. Fullness of blessing is to be doing God’s will in the place of His choosing.