Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”―Isaiah 6:5–7

 

Isaiah is the first of the major prophets of the Old Testament and delivered oracles for the southern kingdom of Judah in the eighth century B.C. Isaiah had a prophetess wife and two sons named Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

It is the sixth chapter of Isaiah’s book that shares his dramatic calling. Isaiah had a splendid vision of God surrounded by seraphim angels who were crying out of God’s holiness and glory. Isaiah soon became overwhelmed at the sight of the phenomenon, feeling tremendous terror for having seen God. After a seraph brought a burning ember, or coal, to Isaiah’s lips, he was cleansed of sin. Then, remarkably full of confidence, Isaiah offered himself to the Lord’s service.

Within Isaiah’s time as a prophet, the kingdom of Judah had near-constant worries connected to the aggressive Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians took over the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., which brought the powerful empire even closer to Judah. Isaiah always stressed the importance of patiently trusting in God and doing his will in order to deal with such situations of difficulty. Unfortunately, his wisdom and advice were often ignored, which usually further complicated the problems of the kingdom.

The Book of Isaiah also includes some beautiful verses that offer many intimations of the coming of Christ. The 11th chapter of Isaiah’s prophecies presents the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How Isaiah died is not recorded; however, it has been asserted that when the evil Manasseh became king of Judah, he had the good prophet martyred.

 

Nine Days with St. Isaiah

The Roman Martyrology lists St. Isaiah on its May 9 page of saints. If you want to step up doing the will of God in your life, Isaiah might be a good saint to turn to, recalling his fearful-turned-willing reception to the call of God. Studying one small Bible passage a day for nine days with Isaiah might encourage your heart to see God’s will for you and to live it out.  If desired, write down a few notes or thoughts each day.  See how the Lord is speaking to you through this Old Testament prophet and saint.

  • Isaiah 1:1, 16-19
  • Isaiah 6:1-8
  • Isaiah 7:3
  • Isaiah 8:3
  • Isaiah 9:5-6
  • Isaiah 11:1-2, 6
  • Isaiah 12:1-6
  • Isaiah 26:4
  • Isaiah 30:15