Isaiah receives his commission in chapter 6 of the book bearing his name. He sees a vision, and in that vision, he is told by God to go out to the people and preach to them. However, his results are going to be interesting.
Isa 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
Isa 6:7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Isa 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
He volunteers to go as a missionary, but God tells him to preach the gospel. However, verse 10 give us some interesting thoughts. The first part is what will happen if they continually hear what Isaiah is saying but never respond.
Basically, their hearts will be so full of knowledge, their ears will hear so much, and their eyes will see so much because of the work of Isaiah. His job is to give them everything that God wants him to give, but back in verse nine, it is pretty much already assumed that they are not going to understand. That is why the judgment is coming. These people are shutting out the things of God, and that will naturally include the words of the prophet as well.
Sometimes we can feel like Isaiah must have felt. He knows he is going to preach. He knows that is the will of God. However, he knows that very few, if any, of the people are going to respond. However, he still volunteered to go. He was still willing to be used by God in whatever capacity was necessary at that time. That is a good model for us to follow.
Basically, even though I think that Bildad made some good points in the previous chapter, in Job 26, Job himself criticizes Bildad for essentially stating the obvious.
Job 26:2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?
Job 26:3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?
Job 26:4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?
It kind of seems as if his friends were more interested in winning the debate than in helping out their friend who was suffering.
This is something I think that we need to take seriously when we are dealing with non-Christians. Yes, they certainly might need convincing at times, and we should be willing to talk about these types of spiritual issues, but we need to show people that we care about them.
That is really the key to being a successful missionary I think. We need to let people know that we actually want something better for them. It isn’t that we simply want to convince. We have a message that, if we take Christianity seriously, these other people need to hear. It has eternal significant. Naturally, that is pretty important stuff, and we should care about sharing that.
However, while we certainly care about our message and believe it is incredibly important, that will not necessarily give us the opportunity to share that with other people. People want to hear what we have to say when they know that we actually want what is best for them. At that point, we will have the opportunity to tell them all that we know about why Christianity is so important and why it matters in their lives.
I think that we can sometimes skip over that part. Getting to know people certainly takes work, but we don’t want to get a reaction like the one that Job gave to Bildad. That doesn’t help us or them.
Numbers chapter 19 brought up something interesting that I have been noticing a lot in this book.
Num 19:10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.
I was referring to the second part of that previous verse. Of course, this rule applies to the children of Israel, but it also applies to anyone who happens to be staying with them. The person who might be from another land still has to play by the same rules.
I think that this is interesting because there is a missionary type mindset built in. The Israelites are supposed to make any strangers in the land aware of the law that was set in place.
We have something similar today.
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We also are supposed to have a missionary mindset. We are supposed to be thinking about other people and making them aware of the sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us approximately 2000 years ago.
If we don’t do that, not only are we somewhat disobeying this commandment, but we are also not helping our friends either. In general, if you know something that is good, you will probably recommend it to your friends.
Having a relationship with God is good. Let’s keep sharing it.