THE CALL OF ISAIAH
Bible Background: Isaiah the prophet was from the Southern Kingdom (Judah), and appears on the scene in about 738 BC, at a time of major political uncertainty. The superpower, Assyria, was breathing down on smaller kingdoms. Israel (Northern Kingdom) would fall in 721 BC. The death of King Uzziah will end a relatively stable period in Judah. The next kings will worry about alliances against or with Assyria. Isaiah speaks much about the present, the future, and God’s reign. The Book of Isaiah is the work of at least 3 different authors over a period of 100+ years. It’s the most beautiful prophetic book in the Bible!
The Call of Isaiah Chapter 6:1-8 1. Isaiah reports this amazing vision. We sense that words cannot describe his experience. He’s overwhelmed by the presence and holiness of God. Yet, he can respond when the voice of God asks “Whom shall I send?” What are your thoughts/feelings about dreams/visions involving God? Can you sense what Isaiah is trying to convey? Have you had a moment when you knew that God’s presence was all around you?
2. We meet a number of folks in the Bible (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Hannah & Samuel, Jeremiah, Mary) whom God seems to speak to directly. Do you wonder how God is still speaking to people today? What do you think when someone reveals that God “spoke to them?” How directly do we want God to speak? How can we be open to listening?
3. Isaiah reports a woeful sense of unworthiness. That’s quickly addressed in the vision. So when God asks “who will go for us and whom shall I send”, Isaiah is able to respond quickly and strongly: “Here I am, send me!” Sometimes we get a ‘nudge’ that draws our attention to God, and opens us to some new possibility. When have you acted on such an impulse? How sure were you that the impulse came from God? Can we even know for sure that it is God who is speaking or doing the nudging? How might this go too far?
4. We don’t really know what Isaiah’s training and background involve. Yet he is able to say “Send me”. He is able to believe that God can use him and his voice and his faith in some way. Do you believe that your faith and talents can be used by God? What kind of courage would it take to say “Send me!” the next time you felt a nudge from God? Can we say “Send me” without knowing all the details? Remember that Baptism is our ‘call’ and sends us to do God’s work!
NEXT WEEK: We’ll read Exodus 19–20 for a short series on Commandments.