God tells Isaiah precisely what his calling is and of the effect his words will have on Judah.
God anticipates that the outcome of Isaiah’s work will be frustrating and tedious. No doubt, the road ahead is strewn with seemingly immovable obstacles for Isaiah. One can marvel at Isaiah’s courage and fortitude in confronting the perceived outcomes of honoring his calling.
Seeing, hearing, and perceiving are basic human functions, but unless the people earnestly repent, these faculties will be denied and the prophetic words of Isaiah will be lost on the majority of the population. This is not a hopeful outcome from Isaiah’s perspective, but it is his calling nevertheless.
One can almost sense Isaiah’s heart sinking as he asks, “How long, O Lord?” Perhaps more significantly—though Isaiah has no way of knowing this—his words will become seeds of hope for the people in the future.
Many of us understand God’s call as a broad, non-specific call to humankind in general. Responding positively to a specific, personal call seems to be where matters become more complicated. We spend days, months, even years creating reasons for ignoring our personal call. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face is the fact that our call often grows far bigger than we ever imagined—more than we can manage ourselves. Perhaps such size marks a real calling; we have no option but to rely on the One who calls us rather than on our own devices.
How much longer will you delay saying “yes, send me” to our loving God in response to your calling?
Lord, thank you for your patience. Please send the Holy Spirit to help me make brave decisions regarding your consistent call on my life. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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