In a former article [Volunteer or Called] we noticed how the Lord in the gospels tested persons who volunteered to serve Him. Volunteers do not see the difficulties. Conversely, when a person is called by God for service, the Old Testament shows that many were quite reluctant at first, because they saw the difficulties within themselves. Moses pleaded that he was not eloquent, [literally, “not a man of words”] and that he was a slow speaker; Jeremiah claimed that he could not speak and that he was only a child; Gideon stated that he was among the poorest in his tribe and that he was the least in his father’s house. The Lord’s appointment of the twelve apostles and the seventy others was His choice. Mark is very definite – “He called whom He Himself would, and they went to Him”, Mark 3:13. How different from those today who call themselves apostles because they have started some churches. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ” – 2 Cor. 8:13.

Someone will say: What about Isaiah 6:8? The verse is: “And 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”. Does this contradict what we have been saying? As the saying goes, “It is the exception that proves the rule”. Let us look more closely and see if Isaiah was a volunteer or whether he was called.

In the preceding seven verses we find that the Lord appeared to Isaiah – he saw the glory. It was a momentous event. Isaiah learnt his “nothingness” and became aware of his sinful condition, as that also of his people. Why does God grant a view of the glory to a person? Is it for religious entertainment? Or, is it because He is calling a person for a very important role? If we study the whole range of Scripture, we find that such appearings and dealings with individuals are deliberate and with a definite purpose. We see it with Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road. He was struck down when the Lord appeared to him.
His second question was: “What shall I do, Lord?” - see Acts 22:10. Was he volunteering or was he filled with a sense of being “taken over” by the Lord? Indeed in Phil. 3:12 he tells us that “I have been taken possession of by Christ Jesus”.

So I believe it was with Isaiah. He had been so affected by the appearing of the glory and God’s dealings with him in regard to his sin, he knew he was being appointed to a service. He could do no other than say: “Here am I; send me”. We are told in John 12:41, “These things said Esaias because he saw His glory and spoke of Him”.

MM June 2008