Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: Who should I send? Who will go for us? I said: Here I am. Send me. Isaiah 6:8
Isaiah 6:1-7 lay the groundwork for toady passage. In Isaiah 6:1-7 we see this:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.
The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.
Then I said:
Woe is me for I am ruined
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Armies.
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said:
Now that this has touched your lips,
your iniquity is removed
and your sin is atoned for.
In this preceding passage we see that Isaiah sees God in all his majesty and glory. And we see that in the presence of such holiness that Isaiah felt the weight of his sinfulness. And that he feared for himself because he knew that God did not tolerate uncleanness in his presence. However, God made a way for Isaiah to stand in his presence and in doing so he, also, prepared for Isaiah. He prepared Isaiah by cleansing his lips, the instrument by which he would execute his prophetic task. He did this symbolic by having one of his seraphim touch the prophets lips with a burning coal. And fire can purify, and this burning coal was taken from the altar where sacrifices were offered to atone for sin.
It was only after God had purified and prepared Isaiah spiritually that Isaiah was commissioned, or given a duty and the authority needed to perform that duty, as a prophet. Today’s passage reminds us of the Great Commission Jesus gave his followers before he left the earth and returned to heaven. He commanded us to spread his message of hope and spiritual salvation to the entire world, starting right where we are. God is always looking for willing individuals to take his gospel-his “good news”- to people who still need to hear about and receive his forgiveness and new life. If we take God’s command seriously, we must respond in the same way as Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me.” However, we like Isaiah need God’s spiritual purification and preparation before we are given any kind of kingdom building task. And it is only through God’s spiritual purification and preparation that we will be able to respond as Isaiah did.