Devotional Reading: I Samuel 3: 1-10
Lesson Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8
Background: Our summer theme, “God’s People Worship,” is a study from the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The primary focus is on worship for the individual and the corporate body. Best defined as the “honor, reverence and homage given to God,” the English use the term “worthship” that denotes the worthiness of God to be praised. “ (The New International Dictionary of the Bible). Worship has two components: first, it acknowledges – Who God is; What He does; and What He will do. This is done deep within. Secondly, that knowledge manifests itself in the lifestyle of the individual /group. This is visual. True worship is never a ritual that takes God for granted! True worship will not leave the believer complacent or arrogant.
Isaiah lived during turbulent times. The son of Amoz, a prominent citizen of Judah, the prophet was highly educated. Judging from his devotion to Jerusalem traditions and his understanding of wisdom tradition, Isaiah was a devout Jew. Married to a prophetess, he had two sons (7:3; 8:3). Judah was experiencing economic growth. With that prosperity came the falling away from God. There had been some former kings who led them astray as well. They were disobedient and corrupt. They also ignored God’s prophets (Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah) who warned them to repent or judgment was coming. Judah witnessed Israel’s fall in 722 BC (judgment) but saw no need for repentance. They acted like God wouldn’t judge them because of their exalted position. Israel was chosen too, but judgment still came.
Lesson: Isaiah’s commission is recorded in the first major section of the book. The lesson can be divided into three parts – his vision, his confession, and his response. King Uzziah’s (also known as Azariah) death signaled instability for the people. Isaiah was in the Temple, probably to pray for the future when his vision happened. Isaiah sees God on the throne. What does this mean? The symbolism is awesome. Note God’s position. There is none higher. His train fills the Temple pointing to His absolute power (omnipotence). The seraphs, celestial beings who attend God, can’t look at Him. Their voices are lifted in praise – Holy, Holy, Holy is their cry. “This expression points to the perfect and complete holiness of God sitting on the throne” (Echoes Adult Teacher Commentary). There is none greater than God! Isaiah’s worship at this point is in his head and heart. The seraphs’ voices shake the Temple and smoke fills it. Now, he confesses his sins not out of fear but out of reverence for God Almighty. When he acknowledges his state, one of the seraphs touches his lips with a hot coal (more like charcoal) taking away his guilt. Now clean, he can stand in the presence of God to hear what the Almighty has for him. God wants him to become a spokesperson for Him. Isaiah’s response, “Here am I. Send me,” is the visual expression of all that has taken place.
Application: Isaiah was no doubt doing the routine when he encountered God in the Temple. There are times when we get lax as well. “We take our blessings for granted and don’t look around to see others,” according to Rev. Jonathan Tennial. For worship to be truly meaningful, we must acknowledge God’s power over all things. No problem that you are facing is greater than God! Confession to God is good for the soul! When we repent that leads to freedom from the guilt of sin. Confession humbles us, thus shutting out arrogance! We praise God because He is Holy; what He does is Holy; and we serve because of His Holiness! Isaiah’s call is dramatic but so is ours! It’s serious business to answer God’s call on our lives! Every life has a call on it. It is up to us to choose to serve a living all powerful God. Worship Him in spirit and in truth. Words can’t describe the feeling of serving Him.