“And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’ And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:7-8)
Which of us has not thrilled to Isaiah’s fantastic vision of the Lord? Which of us has not desired to experience the glory of the Lord’s presence in our worship? Well, Isaiah for one was not thrilled by the “experience” of true worship, face to face with the Lord Almighty: he was terrified. He was scared to death! He knew he was a sinner, unclean, unfit to be in God’s presence. Compared to the Lord, He was no better than his faithless and idolatrous countrymen. Yet here he saw the Lord exalted, holy, righteous, omnipotent.
As blessed as Isaiah was to behold this glory, he was terrified because he knew that the Lord sees the innermost being of every man. No one can hide from Him. The Lord is infinitely superior to our human ways and knowledge. He is beyond the vain manipulation men use to win Him over. He sees our self-serving attempts to appear righteous. He knows that human beings carry out vain and fraudulent rites and rituals, make sacrifices and perform great acts of charity while their hearts are faithless, sinful and self-centered.
But the Lord had chosen Isaiah. He cleansed him of sin, declared him righteous so He could commission him as prophet. He gladly accepted God’s call. We should as well for the Lord cleanses us from sin by the body and blood of Jesus. Our mission is to proclaim the gospel of forgiveness found in Jesus alone. The message is not easy to deliver for it is quite unpopular in the eyes of today’s success-oriented world. There will be no mass conversions, no earth-shaking revivals. The majority of the people will harden their hearts. God’s servants will suffer violence and persecution. Yet in God’s Kingdom what is important is not how many people or how much money we bring in to the Kingdom, how many people attend our services or how dynamic our worship seems to be. What God values most is faithfulness to His calling. That is how He measures success.