God’s call and the human response (Isaiah 6:1-13)

How do kingdom servants handle the dissonance between God’s authority and people’s unresponsiveness? They’re both real, as God showed Isaiah.

“Why speak in parables instead of explaining the kingdom clearly?” Jesus realized people want autonomy rather than authority. It’s why, “they close their eyes, block their ears, and obstruct their hearts so they won’t see, hear, and respond” (Matthew 13:10-17).

In mediating the heavenly king’s message to his earthly kingdom, prophets struggled with the same frustration. Calling Isaiah as his spokesman, God revealed to him both sides of the kingdom relationship:

  • the heavenly king, devoted to his people (Isaiah 6:1-8);
  • the earthly kingdom, with closed eyes, blocked ears, and obstructed hearts (Isaiah 6:9-13).

The second part only makes sense in the context of the first. Only if God is sovereign does it make sense to keep calling people to live as his kingdom. When Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 in response to a question about the kingdom, the context of seeing God on his throne is assumed.

Jesus and Isaiah were kingdom proclaimers in different contexts. To handle this quotation well, I’d like to devote this post to Isaiah’s proclamation of the kingdom of God established by the Sinai covenant. Then we’ll do a follow up post on Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God as a new covenant that includes Israel and the nations under God’s throne, and how we as kingdom proclaimers handle the same frustration that Jesus and Isaiah faced.

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Wonderful Counsellor (podcast) (Isaiah 9:6)

Why did the wonderful counsellor begin with the place that went dark first? Can his mediation resolve the violence and oppression to restore peace to God’s world?

From cards to cantatas, Isaiah 9:6 is part of Christmas. The child who is born, the son who is given is recognized with throne-names like Wonderful Counsellor.

What did wonderful counsellor mean in Isaiah’s time? How does it relate to Jesus?

Continue reading “Wonderful Counsellor (podcast) (Isaiah 9:6)”