Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Isaiah 6 Experience

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Isaiah 6 describes the young prophet's vision in the Temple of seeing “the Lord ... high and lifted up.” It seems obvious that his vision was not of materialistic “glory”; it was a vision of the character of the Lord, a heart-humbling appreciation of His glorious self-sacrificing love. The cry of “holy, holy, holy” was a revelation of the cross. The young Isaiah was overwhelmed with a humbling sense of his own sinful selfishness in contrast. It became the foundation of his entire lifetime of service.

“Woe is me!” he cries. “I am undone!” A steamroller has flattened me in the dust. I thought I could devote my life to the Lord’s ministry, he says; now I see that “I am a man of unclean lips.” I have wandered into the “temple” of the Lord and I see I don’t belong here; my heart is polluted in contrast with the righteousness of Christ. So prayed Isaiah.

There was another man who had a similar experience. The apostle Peter had spent some three years in the Lord’s special theological seminary and had felt quite qualified for apostolic “ministry.” Then when he had publicly blurted out three times his abject denial of Christ, he felt so crushed, so self-humiliated, so polluted in soul, that he threw himself on the ground and wished he could die. Lord, I’m finished! I can never be an apostle; I’m totally unworthy to be one of the Twelve; do let me die! So prayed Peter.

Sometimes the dear Lord lets us have cause to say, “All day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73:14). Then when we feel done in, another word from the Lord comes to mind, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

Isaiah could never have written his 53rd chapter about the cross of Christ unless he had experienced that self-abasement early on, in chapter 6. Someone somewhere is hungry to hear what happened on the cross of Christ. You talk about winning souls; well, if you can tell the story of the cross you’ll win souls. But you’ll never be able to tell it unless you have had your Isaiah 6 experience, and knelt down beside him there, and knelt down beside Peter, too.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 11, 2004.
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