Isaiah responded immediately to God’s request for a messenger, even though he didn’t have the whole assignment yet. Here is Isaiah’s assignment from God, Isaiah 6: 9 And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people,‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely but learn nothing.’ 10 Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”
11 Then I said, “Lord, how long will this go on?”
And he replied, “Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland; 12 until the Lord has sent everyone away, and the entire land of Israel lies deserted.
God gives Isaiah a progression for the people to return to him. They should watch, listen, and understand with their hearts and then God would heal them. But the more Isaiah would preach, the more the people would resist. This sounds counter intuitive, but the word of God will further close the hearts of the rebellious and open the hearts of those seeking God. Jesus explains in Matthew 13:12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. 15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
This is one of five times Isaiah 6:9-10 is quoted in the New Testament. It is quoted in all four gospels and the book of Acts. Each time it is quoted it refers to those who refuse to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The Jews had an image of what Messiah would be and Jesus didn’t match it. Their hearts were hard and the more they were told, the more they resisted. Their hard hearts didn’t allow them to believe.
Even today people can have hard hearts. They have expectations of what God should be and do and if God doesn’t match their expectations, they reject Him.
In our story, Isaiah had seen the true God and the truth of his sin. He had seen that God provided a way to forgive his sins and Isaiah’s heart was open to the call. He would go onto be a powerful messenger for God.
Our hearts can be opened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Lydia experienced this. Acts 16:14b While Paul shared the good news with her, God opened her heart to receive Paul’s message. What resulted when an open heart received the preached Word?
- She was an active listener to God’s word when it was proclaimed by Paul.
- She repented of her sins, was forgiven and baptized.
- She was humble. Her heart was open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
- She was believing and trusting in the word Paul proclaimed.
- She was faithful as she put her faith into action by having the those who witnessed to her stay at her house.
May you have an open heart to experience the true God and His forgiveness. To hear more of the story of Isaiah, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/the-call-isaiah