Until When

Today's devotion from Isaiah 5 and 6.

After listening to the list of deplorable actions and attitudes of the people, Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord asking, "Who should I send? Who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8, CSB) One could almost wonder if this isn't a rhetorical question. After all, throughout the Gospels Jesus uses questions to present individuals an opportunity to respond, which is precisely what Isaiah does.

We often look at his response in admiration. We envision Isaiah, with some timidity, surprising even himself as he stammers, "Here I am. Send me." (Isaiah 6:8, CSB) I've heard many preachers quote verbatim and allude to these words uttered by the prophet. However, we often neglect to take in the service for which he is volunteering.

We romanticize the idea of "being sent" by God or "going" on His errand only to find ourselves bewildered when it doesn't really live up to all we imagined. Read on. Read verses 10 and 11. what do you see there? I see an impossible and thankless mission. I see a messenger who is to speak to those who will not hear. I see a sermon with no real audience. I see a situation that will likely lead to frustration and questioning as Isaiah asks, "Until when, Lord?" (Isaiah 6:11, CSB)

Isaiah's message was, in some ways, fruitless. The people would not heed his warnings. However, there is another purpose in Isaiah's ministry. Within the pages of his message, we find hope as time and again God points us through the coming exile to the birth of a Savior. Time and again, even though these people will not turn from their sin, we see the promise of God to redeem in spite of this rebellious people.

Remember this about Isaiah. Remember his seemingly fruitless and frustrating ministry.  Remember, and consider it worthwhile, because we have been called to the same. We have been commissioned with the gospel, but not promised endless fruitfulness. We have been told to go, but warned that we go into a lost and dying world. We have been told to take the message which is hope of salvation in reality, but often perceived as a stumbling block and offense.

Remember, and ask the question, "Until when?" When is it enough? When can you quit the task to which God has called? Only when you have finished your course.