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Isaiah 6:1-8 1
1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8Then 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!”

Background

This is a figurative vision, limited by the capacity of the human mind (Isaiah’s) as he is about to look into God’s temple, the most holy place. The prophet, who is standing outside the temple, sees the God, raised over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and God’s glory filled the whole temple.   This vision is explained, John 12:41, John 12:41 “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about Him.” John mentions this as full proof that Christ is God. Our imagery must be to see God seated on a throne of grace; and through Christ, the way into this of holiest places is made open to us.

God’s temple, His church is the earth, filled with His glory. The train of God’s robe, filled the temple, the whole world, for all that exists is God’s temple. And yet God can dwell in every contrite heart.  Isaiah stands recognizing that he is not worthy to be where he is. He is sinful. Instead of horror, God’s very own attendants begin to attend to Isaiah. Who ae the seraphim? Seraphim are the traditional angels of heaven, they are the ministering spirits who live near us and do so much for each of us Their name means “burners;” they burn in love to God, and zeal for His glory against sin.

The seraphim showing their faces veiled as a declaration of obedience to all God’s commands. The seraphim do not understand the secret reasons of God’s counsels, government, or promises. All vanity, ambition, ignorance, and pride, will be done away by one view of Christ in His glory. This vision overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness.  We are completely undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our earthly righteousness’s are  no more than filthy rags. No man dare speak to the God, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning the glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ.

The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. The taking away sin is necessary to our speaking with confidence and comfort, either to God in prayer, or from God in preaching; and those shall have their sin taken away who complain of it as a burden, and see themselves in danger of being undone by it. It is great comfort to those whom God sends, that they go for God, and may therefore speak in His name, assured that He will stand behind them.

Items for Discussion

  • How would you describe the characters in this story: e.g. God, Isaiah, the Seraphim? Why is each in the story?
  • How would unforgiven sin interfere with someone’s ability to share Christ with others?
  • If you are positive that God is behind your efforts, how does this lessen any concerns over your effectiveness or results?
  • Clearly, Isaiah is called by God – What do you think a “calling by God” looks like today?

Luke 5:1-11
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Background

When Christ had finished preaching, he told Peter to go back to the business of his calling, fishing. This example shows that the time  spent on week days in public exercises of religion, do not have to be so great as to take up all of our time, and may help us prepare our minds for our worldly business. With what cheerfulness do we go about the duties of our calling, after we have been with God, and have our worldly occupation blessed by the Word and prayer!

No fish were caught and they were disappointed and tired. Yet Christ told them to let down their nets once again. Jesus shows us that we must not abruptly quit our worldly callings because we have not had the success in them we desire. We are called to follow the guidance of Christ’s word in God’s world. The huge catch of fish was seen as a miracle. We too are like Peter, sinful people, therefore Jesus Christ has the right to just depart from us. It is up to us to call out and ask Jesus not to leave  for woe to us if Jesus ever departed from sinners!

Rather let us always call out to Jesus to come and dwell in our hearts and do so by our faith so that Jesus may transform and cleanse us. These fishermen gave up everything and followed Jesus, even when their calling, fishing,  prospered. When riches increase, and we are tempted to set our hearts on them, but to give them up for Christ is the greatest gift.

Items for Discussion

  • Now that you have read both an old and new Testament verse on a calling, what would you say are the elements of being called?
  • Are these the same for every Christian or just for those who become ministers?
  • How are both different and similar to one’s personal salvation?
  • What makes you follow someone? In other words, become an apprentice of sorts?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do you know what your own personal calling is?

 

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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