“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)
I wonder how many of us would apply for a job where we were told right up front that we would be unsuccessful in our endeavours; that, although fully qualified, we would fail. That was the prospect facing Isaiah.
Isaiah had a vision. He saw God sitting upon a throne. Seraphim were present, calling out to one another about the holiness of God. Isaiah immediately realised that he was lost, a man of unclean lips, living among people who were of unclean lips. He knew all this because he had been confronted by the living God.
One of the Seraphim flew to him and touched his lips with a burning coal, and proclaimed to Isaiah that his guilt was taken away and his sin atoned for. It is immediately after this that God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). Isaiah’s response? “Here am I! Send me.”
The question, “Who will go?” did not mean that God did not know if anyone would go. He asked the question so as to give Isaiah, recently cleansed, the opportunity to respond for himself. Isaiah knew he had been a sinner, and was unclean. He knew that the entire nation were sinners, and unclean. He had been cleansed and saw the nation in need of the same cleansing and forgiveness. This could
be accomplished if he served the Lord.
However, God told him that his efforts would not result in much spiritual response. The people had not listened before, and they were not going to listen now. Basically, they could not believe, because they would not believe.
Isaiah asked God how long he was required to preach to people who would not listen. The reply? “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste” (Isaiah 6:11). In other words, Isaiah, you keep preaching as long as there is someone to hear you!
We might feel that our efforts to reach people are in vain. God told Isaiah to persevere, and the message to us is the same — Never give up.
We may not convert the world, but we might reach individuals. I would encourage each of us to keep on saying, “Here am I, send me.”
Colin R Vine