CSBC Sunday School: Isaiah
Lesson #2: Isaiah 6:1-13
September 13, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Hearson; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: GOD CALLS PEOPLE!
Objective Statement: EVERY BELIEVER CAN RECOGNIZE THAT GOD CALLS PEOPLE BY ACKNOWLEDGING FOUR TRUTHS ABOUT GOD’S EXPECTATIONS FOR SERVICE!
Points: TRUTH #1 – GOD’S GLORY! TRUTH #2 – GOD’S FORGIVENESS! TRUTH #3 – GOD’S CALL! TRUTH #4 – GOD’S PERSISTENCE!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: The United States of America has the most powerful military in the history of the world. Now, there were other armies that had more troops in the past, but never has there been a fighting force with such sophisticated weapons and power. CAN YOU NAME THE SIX BRANCHES OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES? Allow for responses that should arrive at, The U.S. Army; The Navy; The Air Force; The Marines; The Coast Guard; and the newly organized Space Force. Interestingly, each branch of the U.S. military has some form of this saying; “Never volunteer for anything.” However, when Isaiah had an encounter with the King – the LORD of Armies – he quickly volunteered to take on the mission God had for him.
- CONTEXT: WHAT IS YOUR IMAGE OF GOD LOOK LIKE? HOW DO YOU THINK HE LOOKS? Allow for perceptions but be sure to direct your students to the incomprehensible nature of God Almighty. God cannot be reduced to some imagination of a human mind as far as His essence or appearance. That is why the 2nd Commandment said we should not make any graven images to try and encapsulate God. He is totally transcendent and beyond our knowing. As one writer put it, God is, “An unclassifiable superabundance that transcends but does not invalidate rational exploration.” But there are those in the Bible who had a brush with the Eternal God, in some of His essence. Moses in 33. Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8; Luke 9:27-36). And Isaiah here in our text of Isa. 6. To attempt to see God in His complete fullness is impossible and God warned Moses, “. . . for there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). WHAT TAKES PLACE IN EVERY CASE WHERE HUMANS HAVE A BRUSH WITH THE INFINITE GOD? Well, when men know it’s God, (or some anthropomorphical [deity described with man-like characteristics], representation of Him or from Him), they ALWAYS bow down in complete humility and fear. That is how our Prophet will respond to our lesson today!
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Isaiah 6:1-13.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
TRUTH #1 – GOD’S GLORY! (Isaiah 6:1-4)
- Verse 1 begins, “In the year that king Uzziah died. . . “ that’s when Isaiah had this vision. That probably doesn’t matter to anyone, (except Uzziah), but it tells us these events happened around 740 BC. Judah had just come through a prosperous time with Uzziah, but Isaiah is already pointing out the Jews were on their long, drift from God. Prophesying at the same time in the Northern Kingdom, Amos, and Hosea had long pointed out the corrupt moral state of the people there and how they had turned their back on God in the midst of their prosperity. WHAT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS TO PEOPLE DURING TIMES OF SUCCESS AND PROSPERITY? There is always a tendency to become self-reliant and morally lax during times when physical needs are being comfortably met. Most people don’t need to rely on God when they can rely on their bank account. As modern believers, we still face the same temptation. So when Isaiah was lamenting the death of his King, God comforted him when Isaiah, “saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” ( 1b). Even though the king was dead and the Northern Kingdom was continuing to decline, God was still in charge. Yes, God was in control, but this did not mean Israel and Judah were safe in their immorality and rebellion. The mighty Assyrian Empire loomed large on the scene as a warning to God’s disobedient people. That “His train filled the temple” (vs. 1c), is a way of stating that God’s presence and glory filled the entire space in Isaiah’s vision.
- Within the throne room were “seraphims” with “six wings” ( 2). We don’t know much about these created beings, even their name is a bit of a mystery. The root word means “burn,” so the seraphim are sometimes called “the burning ones.” Whether this means they were bright and shining or there was some sort of heat radiating from them is difficult to know. The covering of his face and feet with wings showed an act of reverence and humility, considering that the seraphim were standing “above it” (God’s throne). Their posture indicated they were in no way above God. The image, reinforced by the next verse, is one of a choir standing behind the king as Isaiah enters the throne room. In verses 3-4 each of the seraphim cried out to the other in a rhythmic pattern of synchronization, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” The triple statement in the Hebrew language (holy, holy, holy) is the superlative way of expressing something. In other words, the seraphim were not just declaring God holy; they were declaring God is the most holy being there is. In fact, the latter part of vs. 3, speaks to the issue of creation testifying to the glory of God by the very way He created it. Right now, this fallen world has not experienced God’s glory filling the whole earth. But ONE DAY! In Isa. 6:4, the awesome power of God caused even the heavenly realms to shake and fill with smoke. It is too easy for the people of God to forget the glory and awe-inspiring presence of their God. Isaiah and his audience were given a major reminder.
TRUTH #2 – GOD’S FORGIVENESS! (vs. 5-7)
- Verse 5 tells us of the overwhelming response of Isaiah to God’s holiness and power he had witnessed. In desperate humility, Isaiah declared, “Woe is me! for I am undone” ( 5a). Isaiah’s glaring sinful state was revealed, as he realized the awesome GLORY of GOD! In contrast to God’s holiness, Isaiah was “a man of unclean lips” (vs. 5b). Lips in this case represent what comes out of the heart and are a representation of the whole person, inside and out. In fact, Isaiah went on to state that he was unclean and his people were unclean as well. The implication is that Isaiah fully expected this encounter would result in his death; “for I am undone;” “for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (vs. 5c). He knew his doom would be the doom of his people. A holy God and an unclean people cannot live together. This is the problem that has existed since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. This problem exists even today for those separated from a holy God by their sin!
- In response to Isaiah’s realization and fear, one of the seraphim flew to Isaiah with “a live coal” to purify the prophet ( 6). This coal was taken from an altar and when applied to Isaiah’s “lips,” there was a purifying aspect that prepared the prophet for his task. He would be able to speak for God and with God, which was a major part of the prophetic office. Isaiah’s “iniquity” was taken away, and his “sin” was “purged” (vs. 7). Isaiah would be able to stand in God’s presence because of God’s action on his behalf. This act was a beautiful picture of the redemption that would be provided when Jesus came to atone of all sins and purge us from our iniquity. Sadly, at this point, Isaiah was the only one who was touched by the coal. He was the only one who realized his sin and his jeopardy as he stood in the presence of a holy God. The people of Israel and Judah remained ignorant of their sin and their imminent danger.
TRUTH #3 – GOD’S CALL! (vs. 8-10)
- The appeal of 8, is the query of the Triune God (“who will go for us?”) for a representative to speak for Him. WHAT WAS ISAIAH’S ANSWER TO GOD’S APPEAL? Isaiah didn’t wait for God to explain the task that was before him. He immediately jumped at the opportunity to serve as he called out, “Here am I; send me.” This should be the passionate response of every person who has been forgiven and redeemed by Jesus. We should be so filled with joy and thankfulness we are willing to answer God’s call no matter what it is!
- Isaiah received his mission, and it wasn’t a pleasant one ( 9-10). God told him he would be preaching to a group of people who would not really hear and understand his message. They would not respond to God’s call for repentance. They had made up their minds already and God was going to punish them for their rebellion and disobedience. But still Isaiah was supposed to keep on telling them, calling them, and warning them. What a terrible condition these Israelites found themselves with no idea of the imminent judgment that was coming for the wickedness they had been committing. They wouldn’t LISTEN!
TRUTH #4 – GOD’S PERSISTENCE! (vs. 11-13)
- The humanity of Isaiah comes through loud and clear in these verses. He asked God, “Lord, how long?” ( 11). It’s a relevant question! No one wants to keep on telling the message knowing there will be no response. No repentance. No results. God’s answer is a bleak one (vs. 11-12). They would be defeated and harshly judged! But there was a ray of hope! WHAT DOES GOD SAY IN Vs. 13 WILL BE TRUE IN THE FUTURE? Well, there will be a remnant of the TRUE “holy seed.” They would repent and come back to the land. Just as the stump of a “teil tree, and as an oak,” there is still life in their “substance.” God will always preserve a remnant of true and faithful believers. Isaiah prophesied that from a remnant, the people of God would be renewed. After their judgment; they would still live!
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY BELIEVER CAN RECOGNIZE THAT GOD CALLS PEOPLE BY ACKNOWLEDGING; TRUTH #1 – GOD’S GLORY! TRUTH #2 – GOD’S FORGIVENESS! TRUTH #3 – GOD’S CALL! TRUTH #4 – GOD’S PERSISTENCE!
- The question is, ARE YOU WILLING TO ANSWER THE CALL? We are in our Mission’s Conference now. Would you be willing, like Isaiah, to say, “Here am I; send me?” God is looking for willing souls to answer His call of service. Maybe it’s not a mission field, but maybe it’s a ministry right here in our local church. Are you willing? Are you available? God is persistent in trying to find a true remnant that will serve Him faithfully until He comes. Are you that person?
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week don’t be like those who live by the mantra, “Never volunteer for anything.” Follow Isaiah’s example and volunteer for service. Sometimes it’s hard, but God will always give you the grace to do His work. God has the ability to make you a success; do you have the availability? Never forget you are a servant of the Most High, Almighty God! If anyone deserves our surrender and complete effort, it’s HIM!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Isaiah 7:7-17.