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Men God Called
pp. 11 - 16
It is sometimes suggested that the call of Isaiah is not recorded for us, and that the
events recorded in chapter 6: are in fact a re-commissioning of the prophet. There
seems to be no good reason for this view, except that there are prophecies which occur in
the book before the sixth chapter. Yet as we read this chapter, it has a certain `ring' to it
which is strongly suggestive of an initial commission. If it is to be inferred that the
preceding five chapters are chronologically before the sixth chapter, then verses 8 and 9
would suggest that the `earlier' activity had been by a man unsent of God. We therefore
take it that in this chapter we have the call and commission of Isaiah.
This being the case the historical background is clearly set for us: "in the year that
king Uzziah died". There was to be a change of monarch; what did the future hold?
Would the new king be a godly man or not? On the whole, king Uzziah had been a good
leader of his people. We read of him:
"And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his
father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had
understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to
prosper" (II Chron. 26: 4, 5).
But, alas, he did not constantly seek the Lord, and so it had to be written of him:
"And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed
against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the
altar of incense" (II Chron. 26: 15, 16).
The result of this act of sacrilege was that "he was a leper unto the day of his death"
(26: 20, 21). His downfall came "when he was strong". Uzziah became strong through
the goodness of God to him, then his heart was lifted up with pride in his prowess and, in
the sight of God, he became weak. Nonetheless, apart from this lapse, he had been a
good and godly king. Would his successor be as good? or would he be a king who had
no place for Jehovah and worshipped Baal?
In the year that king Uzziah died, Isaiah was found pondering the future. In spite of
Uzziah's example "the people did corruptly" (II Chron 27: 2). Would the new king be
able to alter the people? Isaiah saw a need: the need for a people who would do right in
the sight of the Lord. He was under no illusion as to the state of the nation: "I dwell in
the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Isa. 6: 5). God's commission was for him to "go,
and tell this people" these facts (6: 8, 9).
As with Moses, Isaiah saw a need: unlike Moses, he did not take it upon himself to
act, until he was commissioned of God. But what could he have done in the