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Accepting God's Call to Service

(Isaiah 6:1-13)

Lesson 12 -- first quarter 2009
February 22, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

What have you seen of God's glory today?

Does sin bother you?

Should service always follow cleansing?

What can I do to be more perceptive of the voice of the Lord?

Are you a willing server and servant?

God hears and acts

Isaiah saw the Lord of hosts in His splendor and glory. He heard majestic beings lauding the holiness of God. And as any human would, Isaiah was overwhelmed with his own uncleanness and sin: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips."

God, because of His mercy and holiness, acted to remedy Isaiah's problem: "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." With Isaiah open and humbled before Him, God was not about to allow Isaiah's uncleanness impede his mission for God. So God cleansed him.

Isn't that terrific?! I think it is wonderful that God doesn't leave us overcome with our own inadequacies and sins. He hears the needy cry of our hearts and moves promptly and decisively to cleanse us.

Yes, us! Not just Isaiah. Not just the other historical men and women of God. Us! When we humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our sins and our weaknesses, calling on Him for forgiveness and cleansing, God hears and acts!

No matter what my need may be, God hears and acts. If my lips have been soiled by guile, untruth, gossip, slander, foolishness, unkindness or profanity, God will touch my lips. If my eyes have been contaminated by a book, on the street, at a checkout stand, on the Web or by a catalog, God will touch my eyes. If my mind has been polluted by bitterness, rebellion, lust, greed, unforgiveness, or covetousness, God will touch my mind.

And He will do the same for you, my friend!

Do you hear and respond?

First Isaiah saw and responded. Then God addressed his needs.

That prepared Isaiah to hear God ask, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Thanks to God's merciful intervention in his life, Isaiah no longer needed to be aware of his sin and inability. Instead he could respond with confident but humble availability: "Here am I; send me."

Have you heard God's call? If you haven't, you had better listen more closely! If you have, answer as Isaiah did. God wants to send each of His children to do something for Him. I am sure He wants to send you to at least one of these places:

The mission field.

Many people groups have not yet been convincingly touched by the Gospel message. And in many countries, the churches beg for veteran Christians to come teach them the Way more perfectly. Hear?

The school room.

Christian schools across the land suffer from a shortage of dedicated teachers and teachers' aides. School boards everywhere struggle to put together staff for another school year, hindered by a scarcity of funds or personnel or both. Hear?

The nursing home.

All those aged and disabled folks pining away, wanting someone to sing with them, visit with them, pray with them, play with them. If you think you have your discouraging times, put yourself in their shoes. Hear?

The garden.

Huh? Yes, the garden! You know, those places with soil to be tilled, weeds to be pulled and blisters to be made? The preacher's garden, the old lady's garden, the sick man's garden . . . hear?


"Oh no! How can God send me there when He's already put me there?" Precisely. There are chores to be done (voluntarily), fun times to be made with your siblings, and kind words to be sown. Hear?

How can God use me?

You wonder how God can use you? Remember these two things: He knows more about you than you know about yourself and He always puts His grace into the equation. God's ability to use you is not hindered by your self-consciousness nor by your stuttering nor by your timidity nor by your awkwardness nor by any other such "negative" you may suffer from. What does hinder His ability to use you is...

God does not fret about your natural ineptitude or handicaps. He knows exactly what He will do to either overcome them or take advantage of them. Moses knew he couldn't talk, right? Look what happened to his tongue after he committed it to service! Paul was willing to talk, but alas! God hadn't installed an eloquent tongue in his head. But what great things God did in the lives of the host that heard that stuttering servant! The key to being used of God is unconditional surrender to His service. Just as we do not refuse to serve because of our liabilities, so we do not agree to serve because of our assets. We agree to serve because of His assets.

Service. How do you prepare? Are you supposed to guess at what you will be doing in the future and then get all sorts of related training? That is the natural way. Most of us would say it is flawed because of the word guess. That is an obvious flaw since a wrong guess could mean useless preparation (somewhat akin to guessing the surprise trip is a fishing expedition -- you wear hip boots -- when in reality it is a tour of Kennedy Space Center!). However, its major flaw is the focus -- your abilities. Training and ability contribute greatly to service, but they do not prepare you for it. Preparation happens in the mind and heart.

"I have yielded myself to Your service...." Have you ever sung that and meant it? Yielding has nothing to do with feeling or desire. It has everything to do with obedience. Yielding is an act of the will. Moses needed it; you need it. You begin with an initial commitment to serve God whenever, wherever, however, for ever. As specific calls reach your heart, they find a pre-conditioned audience.

This may be the stage where you really get in the way. A certain assignment could threaten to your ego. Perhaps the task is "demeaning." Or maybe it is big or challenging enough to leave brilliant success in question ("What if I goof up? How humiliating!"). Most likely it doesn't come equipped with a spotlight...for you. The job could conceivably give someone else the recognition that is "rightfully" yours. Whatever the threat, you fear for yourself. Then you must deny yourself and take up your cross. And how do you do such a thing? When your will crosses the Lord's, choose His. Taking this step daily allows you to discover and experience His limitless, empowering grace.

We still need to look at that third hindrance. Are you tolerating any sin in your life? It does not have to be a so-called "gross sin" to thwart your usefulness. Covetousness, bitterness, offense, materialism, wrong music, lack of forgiveness, and a comparing spirit are just as deadly as immorality, thievery, rebellion, and dishonesty. Ask God to expose all sin in you. Confess it. Utterly abandon it.

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