Do Not Understand and Perceive the Truth (Isaiah 6:9-10)

"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 heart and turn to me for healing" (Isa 6:9-10, NLT).

Tell people not to understand and to never be able to. Isaiah 6:9-10 is quoted in all four gospels and Acts (Mt 13:14-15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:39-41; Ac 28:26-27). It is an odd commission because the plain meaning says to tell people not to understand (Isa 6:9) and then to make sure they will not (Isa 6:10). The communication is to be comprehensive. It specifies the "outer" (hearing, seeing) and the "inner" faculties (understanding, perceiving). Also, Isa 6:10 is arranged into a rounded structure (heart ... ears ... eyes ... eyes ... ears ... heart) thus emphasizing the people's total inability to comprehend.


Rather random rambling ruminating reflections from Isaiah 6 commentaries

Holiness is the Lord's hidden gloryglory is the Lord's visible (omnipresent) holiness.

Glory is the shining out of who God is -- he is holiness. Holiness is part of the inner distinctiveness of God that is revealed in all his activity and his "glory" is the outward manifestation of the brightness of his majesty and holiness.

Holiness is the essence of God's nature. God himself is the supreme revelation of holiness (Isa 6:3). God's absolute holiness reveals how separate, different, or totally other he is in comparison to all other aspects of the created world. “Holy, holy, holy” is not just repetition; it is emphasis. It isn’t one + one + one; it’s perfection x perfection x perfection.


The Call (Isaiah 6): Woe to Me! Send Me!

Isaiah 6:1-13
"I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne..." "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips ... and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isa 6:1, 5, 8, NIV).

Ponder and ask yourself:
  • Have you heard "the call"?
  • Have you "seen" God? Have you seen the Lord? Do you really want to see God?
  • Have you felt woe? Doomed by your sins?
  • Do you have a sense of what your specific calling is?
  1. Confronting a vision of God (1-4): Confronts a vision.
  2. Conviction and confession (5): Confesses his sin.
  3. Cleansing and consecration (6-7): Cleansed by grace.
  4. Calling and commissioning (8-13): Called by God.


Isaiah's Cry of Woe and Doom

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty" (Isa 6:5, NIV).

When Isaiah cried out (Isa 6:5), it was a cry of pain. It was the revealing cry of conscious uncleanness.

In genuine conversion, in the transaction of the new birth, there ought to be that real and genuine cry of pain. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy, holy God (Isa 6:3).

Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain, I am not sure how deep or real our repentance or regeneration is.


Isaiah 6 is strategically located between 1-5 and 7-12

Isaiah 1-5 raises a serious problem. Sinful, arrogant Israel is going to be the holy people of God to whom the nations will come to learn of God (Isa 2:1-4; 43:8-14; 49:5-6; Ezek 36:22-38). But how can this be? Isaiah 6 provides the solution. Sinful Israel can become servant Israel when the experience of Isaiah becomes the experience of the nation. When the nation has seen itself against the backdrop of God's holiness and glory, when the nation has received God's gracious provision for sin, then she can speak for God to a hungry world. (Ch. 60-66 follow immediately upon the promise of 59:21.) If ever Isaiah's experience should be duplicated on a national scale, then the promises of Isa 1:16-19; 2:1-4; 4:2-6 could be experienced.


The Heart of Mission

There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command. It has been customary to speak of "the missionary mandate." This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel.

If one looks at the NT evidence one gets another impression. Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact?

The mission of the Church in the pages of the NT is more like a fallout which is not lethal but life-giving. One searches in vain through the letters of St. Paul to find any suggestion that he anywhere lays it on the conscience of his reader that they ought to be active in mission. For himself it is inconceivable that he should keep silent. "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Cor 9:16). But nowhere do we find him telling his readers that they have a duty to do so. . . .

At the heart of mission is thanksgiving and praise. . . . When it is true to its nature, it is so to the end. Mission is an acted out doxology. That is its deepest secret. Its purpose is that God may be glorified.

(Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989], 116, 127)


Isaiah 5 Bible Study Questions

What More Can God Do? (Isaiah 5:1–7, 8-25, 26-30; 1a, 4)

"I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard..." "What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?" (Isa 5:1a, 4, NIV)

Outline (5:1-30):
  1. The Song (1-7): Love and grace.
  2. The Woes (8-25): Laments of sorrow.
  3. The Judgment (26-30): Defeat and darkness.
Recap: In Isaiah 1-4, what challenges and choices does Isaiah present to his audience (Judah and us)?


What is God's Own Heart Like?

David is described as a man after God's own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Ac 13:22). How might such a heart be characterized?
  1. A _________ / true heart (1 Sam 16:11; 17:34‒36) (cf. Mt 25:21).
  2. A ________ / hungry heart (Ps 63:1) (cf. Ps 42:1‒2; Mt 5:6).
  3. A ____________ heart (Ps 9:1‒2; 13:5) (cf. Prov 17:22).
  4. A __________ / fixed / immovable heart (Ps 57:7) (cf. Ps 112:6‒8; Isa 26:3‒4).
  5. A _________/ ___________ heart (Ps 32:3‒5; 51:17) (cf. Isa 57:15; 66:2).
  6. A _______ / _______ heart (Ps 24:3‒4; 51:10‒12) (cf. Mt. 5:8; I Tim 1:5).
  7. A _______-filled heart (I Sam 16:13‒14) (cf. Acts 15:8‒9).
  8. An __________ / _______ / ________ heart (1 Chron 28:9; 29:19; Ps 86:11) (2 Chron 25:2; Eze 11:19; Jas 4:8). Your __________ heart will be the ________ in your armor, the _____ in your boat, the ____ in the perfume that allows the devil to come in and _______ your ____________ flaw.


Reason for God's Destruction of Judah (Isaiah 5:8-25)

Isaiah 5:8-25, 15-16

"So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled. 16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts" (Isa 5:15-16, NIV).

What are the bitter grapes (5:2, 4)? They are spelled out in a series of Woe poems (5:8-25). Woe is like a judgment term in English. "You're going to get it and I'm glad." But in Hebrew it is a word of regret, like Alas! When Isaiah cries "Woe" he does not do it with glee but with tears. The NLT says, "What sorrow for you..." Oh, how sad. Oh, what grief.


A Proud Man/Church vs. a Humble Man/Church

How can you tell the difference?

The Proud Person / Church
The Humble Person / Church
It's all about ___.
It's all about _____ and ________.
Get's joy from promoting ______.
Gets joy from promoting _________.
Gets ______ and ____________ when confronted.
Is ________ and ___________ when confronted.
Loves to _______ / _________.
Loves to _________ / ________.
_______ about what they know.
_______ about what they don't know.
_______ others.
Takes _____________.
Compares self to ________.
Compares self to ______.
"Lord, change _______."
"Lord, change _____."
_______ ___ sin.
________ ____________ sin.
Concerned with _______ / ______________.
Concerned with _______ / ____________.


What More Could God Have Done (Isaiah 5:1-7)

Isaiah 5:1-7, 1, 4 (1-7, 8-25, 26-30) [Reading of Isaiah 5:1-7 with pictures - 1 min)]

"I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside." "What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?" (Isa 5:1, 4, 7).

Outline (5:1-30):
  1. The Song (1-7): Love and grace.
  2. The Woes (8-25): Laments of sorrow.
  3. The Judgment (26-30): Defeat and darkness.
I will sing for the one I love (1). "I" is Isaiah. "The one I love" or "my beloved" (ESV) is God (1a). Isaiah had an intimate relationship with God. The prophets, including Isaiah, are touched by the pathos of God. God is passionate for his people. He is jealous for them. Yet they seemed determined to have their own way at all costs. It is like Isaiah is entering into the heart of God, feeling the very heart of God as God looks at his vineyard (1b).


The Heart of the Matter (What does God really want?) [An overview of Kings and Chronicles]

We want a king! God's people in the Promised Land were initially ruled by _________ (Judg 2:16). These were Spirit-anointed leaders raised up to deal with national emergencies. The people of Israel soon became discontent with this leadership and asked God to give them a _________, like the nations around them (1 Sam 8:4-9).

The United Kingdom. Israel's first king _______ turned out to be a disaster. God rejected him and chose a new king, "a man after his own heart" (I Sam 13:14). _________ was the greatest king Israel ever had and set the standard for all future kings. Next came _____________ who led Israel to her greatest splendor. But he modeled a ___________ heart.


God's Glorious Holy Kingdom (Isaiah 4:2-6)

Negative (+)
Positive (-)

Outline of 2:1-4:6
  1. The Ideal: Our Glorious Future Hope (2:1-5).
  2. The Actual: Our Dark Present Reality (2:6-4:1).
  3. The New: Our Glorious Future Hope (4:2-6).
The immediate future will be terrible for Judah if the nation does not stop trusting mankind and start exalting God alone. Isaiah wanted God's people to know that their rebellion and pride (2:6-4:1) will not defeat God's ultimate plan to establish his glorious kingdom in the future (2:1-5; 4:2-6). In contrast to 2:1-5 which focuses on the coming of the foreign nations to hear God's laws, 4:2-6 focuses on the purification of a holy remnant.