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What Isaiah Saw – Part 4

Isaiah Saw His Own Responsibility

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then I said, “Here am I.  Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

After understanding God’s greatness, his own unworthiness, and finally divine forgiveness, Isaiah comes to the point where he now views his own responsibility differently.  Imagine how strange it would be to hear a weak, human voice in God’s presence.  Who was Isaiah to speak in such august company?  Under normal conditions I expect that he would be content to bow in respectful silence before God.  However, the joy of being forgiven overrides his natural inclinations, and he eagerly volunteers for the divine mission.  Notice that God has not outlined what is involved in the task.  Most questions remain unanswered.  Go where?  When?  How?  Do what?  All of these require clarification.  Those who have been in the military know not to volunteer for anything, because it will surely involve more than expected.  However, Isaiah is absolutely unconcerned about all these considerations.  All of these issues have been subordinated to his desire to respond to God’s grace by grateful service and obedience.

If we truly understood the magnitude of God’s grace toward us, I believe that it would radically transform us into responsible, zealous workers in the Lord’s kingdom.  In fact, it is the only way to inspire the attitude of total commitment Jesus requires.  To potential first century disciples Jesus threw down this challenge, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).


In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Paul uses the zeal of the poverty stricken Macedonian churches to encourage the wealthier Corinthian brethren to follow through on their commitment to aid poor Judean Christians.

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

How much would people have to give for a preacher to say that they gave beyond their ability?  He explains this behavior by the fact that “they first gave themselves to the Lord.”  I believe that this is the key to all total commitment to God.  God wants us—all of us.  He will be satisfied with nothing less.  For too long I am afraid that we preachers have tried to nag lukewarm Christians into giving, attending, or teaching without emphasizing that this can only be accomplished by the radical decision to give ourselves completely to God.  We have gotten the cart before the horse.  Disciples who truly belong to God will not have to be browbeaten into service to the Lord.  It will be their chief joy.