Sunday, December 8, 2013

Reflections of Isaiah and on Teaching

One of the most enjoyable things I do in Odessa is teach.  I enjoy teaching at the seminary, at various Bible studies and English clubs.  This year I have had the unique privilege to teach Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey to high school aged kids at the school for missionary kids.  In the OT class I have just two students - my 14 year old daughter and one of her best friends.  One of the assignments I often give to write a short reflection on a key passage.  We recently covered Isaiah and I asked the girls to write a reflection on Isaiah’s call in chapter six.  I enjoyed their thoughts so much I thought I would share them with you.  (Yes, I did ask their permission).  Enjoy.


Reflection on Isaiah’s Call
Isaiah’s call is very interesting.  I can understand why it inspires many people to the mission field.  Isaiah did answer God’s question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” with, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, 9).  But after Isaiah agrees to go, God says that the people will “Be ever hearing, but never understanding, be ever seeing, but never perceiving … Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed (6:9, 10).”  Basically, Isaiah’s ministry will be completely and totally fruitless.  He will preach and preach and preach, but no one’s going to listen.  That’s not exactly too inspiring when one thinks about it.  So it’s no wonder that Isaiah asked, “For how long, O Lord?”  And the answer: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant … and the land is utterly forsaken.”  So Isaiah will preach and preach and preach with no one listening until everything is destroyed.  It looks a little like God is calling Isaiah to an absolutely pointless ministry.  But, fortunately, God gives hope in verse 13: “But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will the stump in the land.”  So Isaiah is called to plant a seed in the land, which will eventually lead to Jesus.  But, unfortunately, Isaiah will not live to see his seed grow.

If we go back in the chapter a little, there’s another pretty impressive part.  Isaiah was in the temple when he was called.  According to his account, “the train of [God’s] robe filled the entire temple. (6:1)” Trains on clothes didn’t exist back then, so Isaiah probably just saw the hem of God’s robe.  Just the hem, because it filled the temple.  Yet he cries out, “I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips … and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Isaiah had a sense of the angels and everything above God’s hem, but all he saw was God’s hem.  And that was enough for Isaiah to see how unworthy a sinful man like him is to see God.

Reflection on Isaiah’s Call
Isaiah’s call to prophesying was, well, depressing. As a missionary, or at least a missionary kid, his future is probably to be my future as well. I’ll tell people about God, and some will listen, but others won’t. Isaiah had this same future, except in his situation, no one would listen. His words would fall on deaf ears, and he would continue to prophecy until the destruction of Israel. I feel very sorry for poor Isaiah, finding out that he will have to prophesy for the rest of his life to blind, deaf, and mute people who won’t even listen to him in the first place He would never get to see the fruit that would come from his labors, and his prophesying would, in a way, cause the destruction of Israel, because of the effect it had on the people. When most people say they will go for God and tell the world about him, they are not thinking about all the hardships that will come from their decision, but instead are thinking about how they will be important, and looked up to by the people for doing such a wonderful job. They don’t remember that missionaries are often persecuted, frowned upon, cheated, and made to pay unfair bribes and high prices. Isaiah didn’t complain, he just listened to God and asked for more information. We read that Isaiah was struck with awe at the sight of God, and he only saw the hem of God’s robe! Yet this was enough to strike him with awe and fear. This, along with the fact that the hem of God’s robe filled the temple, is very humbling and at the same time baffling to me. I have a lot of questions about the part where the seraph flies down to Isaiah and touches his mouth with a burning piece of coal. Why doesn’t Isaiah cry out; is it because it’s a holy piece of coal that it doesn’t hurt or something? And how does the coal make him clean when the rest of us had to have Jesus die for us? Why couldn’t God have just tapped all our mouths with holy coal and made us clean? Or does the picture of the burning coal making him clean have some other meaning? Isaiah certainly confuses me, but his call to prophesy is awesome. (The awe inspiring kind) Still, disappointing. Very disappointing.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well done Micah and your friend...
I enjoyed reading your statement and
look forward to more in the future...
Love from your grandma L....xxoo