“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!’”
~Isaiah 6:8 (NRSV)
The vision of God, and of the seraphs, that Isaiah had in the Temple was an encounter with God that would change the direction of his life. Encounters with God do that; they change us from the inside out, instantly, powerfully, and in a transformational mode—we can never be the same again, praise God.
Isaiah 6 is not merely the calling of the Prophet into ministry; no, it details first the saving of a wicked man—one of unclean lips.
The passage through the chapter is poignantly familiar: a man encounters the full revelation of God and finds he cannot stand before such Glory and Holiness; he sees and detests his sin, confessing it, repenting from the core of his being; God, of course, responds, calling him into the blessedness of redemption, and the work of the Kingdom. As we have found, the saved are destined to serve; and so begins Isaiah’s ministry.
The Character Of Our Redemptive GOD
We would be mistaken to categorise God as redemptive only from a New Testament viewpoint; conditional to the post-Jesus scenario.
The Lord has been saving humans and humankind since the inception of creation, conditional upon the method enshrined within the Covenant relationship. When we honour the Covenant woven within the fabric of creation itself, worshipping God as we should, it is the Lord’s instant compulsion—for love’s sake—to redeem us as his own.
This theology is an everlasting one; it may have been announced through Moses, but it was always God’s intent to be irrevocably connected with humankind. What the story of The Passion underscores is the undeniable design of the fulfilment of this Covenant epitomised in the birth, ministry, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
The Redemption Of Isaiah
Reading the 13-verse chapter of Isaiah leaves us knowing that Isaiah was saved from his sin (verse 7) as a direct result of seeing it revealed in the light of holiness, and turning from it back to God.
Encountering God does that; it exposes our sin so we, alone, can judge it. As a consequence we fall before God, guilty as personally charged in the sight of holy revelation. God does not judge us but reveals truth; we judge ourselves in the light of truth; repentance is the divine accord we then hasten to make. This is what occurred with Isaiah. And he was forgiven. Then he was invited to serve. Devotees of God love to serve.
Redemption is, finally, about service. God blesses us with salvation; we attempt to bless God by working at love, and in devotion, within the Kingdom. Service comes as a result of transformation.
Encounters of God are, by their nature, redemptive: the encounter produces awe within us, present before such holiness; we confess and renounce our sin; in that we worship. Immediately, we are saved. Then we are sent to serve God.
No one can truly encounter God and not be transformed unto new life. God changes things, every time.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.