Isaiah’s Call

The call of Isaiah to become a prophet of God is perhaps the best-known event in Isaiah’s life. When Isaiah recorded this experience, he had already retired as a counselor to the court of King Ahaz. An alliance was made between Ahaz and the threatening army of the Assyrians against the strong warnings and advice of Isaiah. Sensing a shift away from God and toward political alliances, Isaiah left the court, never again to speak to the council of Ahaz.

Not much is known about Isaiah’s background. However, through his writings, pronouncements and experiences, certain insinuations emerge. For instance, it appears that Isaiah was a part of the privileged class within Jerusalem as indicated by his case of access to the centers of power. His presence in the area of the temple normally restricted to priests might arguably place Isaiah within that class. Certainly uppermost in Isaiah’s affections was his love for the city of Jerusalem and his interest in the special relationship between Yahweh and the Davidic dynasty. The specific setting for Chapter 6 is throughout to be an annual religious drama conduct din the temple. This drama, known as the Enthronement Celebration, depicted the return of the Divine King to His temple as victor over the forces of evil to be crowned as King, Creator, and Judge of His people.

The time reference, “the year that king Uzziah diet,” is significant. The nation of Judah was undergoing a transition from a popular and effective ruler to his unproven and less popular son, Jotham. King Uzziah reigned for 52 years and, except for being quarantined in the last year of his rule due to a leprous condition, found success in his various endeavors. Concern over the continuance of peace and prosperity following the death of Uzziah created a climate of anxiety throughout Judah. And it was in this context that Isaiah accepted God’s challenge for a prophetic spokesman.

Like Isaiah, we too, have been called of God. Our circumstances are quite different from those of Isaiah, but God doesn’t look at circumstances to determine His calling upon our lives. He looks at His creation and calls us to respond to the needs of people around us. Will we respond in obedience? Will we say, “Here am I, send me?”

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