Friday, October 12, 2007


I love Isaiah 6. I love the picture of God that the prophet gives us. And like i said earlier i don't really feel i understand it all that well, but there are a couple of things in his call that really stand out to me. Isaiah sees the Lord of hosts high and lifted up in a vision, realises his own hopeless situation and that of his people, repents and has his lips more or less burnt off by a burning coal to mark the atonement for his sin. And this 'coal event' totally changes his relationship with God. The Lord calls for a messenger 'who shall we send, and who shall go for us?' Isaiah, his lips still presumeably meshed together manages to present himself before God for this task.

And whats the essence of his message? Go and preach until the people's ears become unhearing and their eyes unseeing. Basically go and preach to them a message of judgement, that they won't listen to. This is not a message that will get Isaiah good invites in the Judah social circles, it won't get him popularity, it will cost him a lot more than it will gain him. It will get him sawn in half, according to Hebrews. And yet Isaiah, constrained by the glory and i'm guessing the joy of seeing God doesn't record a complaint. Infact he fills up the next sixty odd book with this message, and records of it's reception. Isaiah's message that YHWH is God of the nations will be rejected.

Is today's message of a crucified savior any less unbelievable? Of course not, thats why evangelism is so hard, thats why God is glorified through it. Because it's clearly not a man made message, and when people are saved it's clearly not due to the efforts of men. We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all surpassing power belongs to God and not to us'. So we will never come away from a witnessing situation feeling good, because we are jars of clay. But how then do we survive in doing the work of an evangelist? There might be two ways.

Remembering that the work belongs to the Lord. This is key. 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 tells us that salvation happens when God shines light in our heart to show us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. And we can't do that. We can't shine that light. All we can do is trust, pray, and proclaim not ourselves, but Jesus as Lord. And trust. Lots of trusting.

And we can, like Isaiah be constrained by the glory and majesty of God. As John Piper might say, we must be constrained by the joys of heaven and the horrors of hell. We need faith to do evangelism, to proclaim an unbelievable message to a deaf and blind people. Isaiah was constrained by his faith, constrained by his belief that his message was important, and constrained by his vision of the glory of God.

No comments: