Isaiah 6:1-9, “In 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. Above 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. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “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.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then 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!” He said, “Go and tell this people: King Uzziah was only 16 when he started his reign and reigned 52 years.”
According 2 Chronicles 26 and 2 Kings 15:1-7, this King of Judah had a long and distinguished career in military exploits, Uzziah led Israel’s many into major victories. 2 Chronicles 26:8 says, His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he strengthened himself exceedingly. 2 Kings 15:3 says that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. According to 2 Chronicles 28:5, He sought God in the days of Zechariah; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
In 2 Chronicles 26:16, Uzziah’s life ended tragically when God struck him with leprosy because his heart was lifted up against God. He transgressed against the Lord by burning incense on the altar of incense. He was an isolated leper until his death. From this passage, certain principles stand out:
- When people perceive the revelation of the LORD’s sovereign majesty in glory they become CONVICTED over their sinful condition.
- When people acknowledge their sin, they find CLEANSING
- When people are sanctified, they RESPOND obediently to the CALL of God.
Three things must happen for missions to succeed: Missions succeed when individuals RESPOND to God’s CALL (Jonah 1:2, 3:2). God’s servants must start with a clear call to join Him in His mission. As the initiator of his mission, God or ‘YAHWEH,” summons Jonah (1:2) to “go to Nineveh” an oppressive and vicious enemy of the God of Israel (Nahum 3).
On a personal basis, God calls us to participate in a relationship with Him by responding to His call of salvation. “I stand at the door and knock.” This is where we begin our Journey. Later He calls us to join Him in helping others experience the same life that we have experienced. We must realize that, by this time in his life, Isaiah was already a prophet. At this moment, he was responding to a rather difficult task to deliver a hard message to the nation.
Two things are key in his response: Get REVELATION of God’s HOLINESS (Isaiah 6:1-3). True worship must open our eyes to see the holiness and beauty of God. Isaiah’s eyes were opened to see God’s majesty. Sin has a way of hindering and obscuring our view of God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ.
Seek CLEANSING from our WICKEDNESS (vs. 4- 6). Isaiah’s opened eyes not only made him see his own wickedness but also the wickedness that surrounded him. Our indifference to the sin and wickedness around us is due to the lack of spiritual eyes.
2 Kings 6:15, “Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered,’Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Many of us miss the happenings around us because we lack that spiritual sight.
Natural sight will not only deceive us, but will also block us from participating in the supernatural work God wants to accomplish. Fear results when we keep our eyes on the impossibility of the task and forget to visualize the place of face. Missions succeed when individuals KNOW where God is SENDING them (vs. 8).
Who are the people God is sending us to? What is their culture? Where are they found? When God sends the prophet Jonah to Nineveh, the prophet Nahum describes Nineveh as a “betrayer of nations and a city of harlotries” (Nah. 1:4, 2:8-9, 3:4). How does the mission field of Jesus’ day compare with today’s mission field?
However, three factors remain unchanged with God’s mission in this fast changing mission’s frontier: (1) the command for people to “go” and “make” disciples; (2) man’s appetite and insatiable desire for wickedness, (3) Christ’s accomplished work on the cross to redeem and reconcile mankind back to God.
The Church needs to be knowledgeable concerning today’s changing mission field. Globalization, urbanization, technological advancement, and migration patterns continue to transform the context of the mission field. The Identity and culture of nations is changing as a result. A new urban culture is developing, more so among the youth.
This calls for a change in the way we approach urban missions. As the mission field changes, the church should trust the Holy Spirit for innovative ways of doing God’s mission.
Missions become successful when we KNOW the MESSAGE we are to deliver. When Jonah is sent to Nineveh, he was to preach against the city for its wickedness. Tim Keller suggests that, when Christians abandon the city, they inevitably make it easier for it to turn to false gods (4). Nahum 3:1-4 reveals the extent of the wickedness, violence and immorality in the city of Nineveh. He describes the city of Nineveh as a “bloody city,” that is “full of lies and robbery,” a “city that devoured all its victims.”
In verses 3-5, Nahum adds that the violence of the city left many slain because of the of the seduction of the harlot, the mistress of sorcery. God promises to humble Nineveh because of such wickedness. Nahum 3:16-19, God judged Nineveh for many reasons including the city’s weak leadership. Nahum states that the generals were like great grasshoppers which camp in the hedges on a cold day and flee away when the sun rises.
He adds that the shepherds slumber, the nobles rest in the dust, as the people scatter with no one to gather them. Shepherds/Christians have a special place in such a city. Christians cannot choose to be indifferent to the sin, violence and idolatry that is taking root in the cities and nation.