What does Isaiah 6:8 mean?
ESV: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
NIV: 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!'
NASB: Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'
CSB: Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: Who will I send? Who will go for us?I said: Here I am. Send me.
NLT: Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'
KJV: Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
The Lord has led Isaiah through a specific process to prepare him to deliver His message to the people of Judah. First, the Lord showed Himself as the King, continually worshipped by angelic beings declaring His holiness. (Isaiah 6:2–3). Glimpsing the holiness of God brought Isaiah to his knees in a deep understanding of his own sinfulness and that of his people (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah's confession was followed by the Lord's atonement for his sin when the seraphim placed the coal from the altar on Isaiah's lips (Isaiah 6:6).
Now Isaiah is ready to offer himself in service to the Lord. The prophet comprehends something of God's holiness, his own sinfulness, and the Lord's willingness to atone for his sin. He is willing to represent the Lord to his people, who also need to be cleansed by the Lord and repent of their sins.
At this point, Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord. God is asking who He should send. Who is "us" that the Lord is speaking for? The Lord may be referring to the three parts of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, as He was in Genesis 1:26. Or He may be speaking of Himself and the "hosts" of heaven, including the seraphim, who occupy His court (Isaiah 6:2). This may also be what is sometimes called the "royal 'we'" where monarchs and other rulers speak of themselves in plural terms.
Moments earlier, Isaiah might have refused such a mission. He was painfully aware of his unworthiness to speak on God's behalf (Isaiah 6:5). Now, purified by God's grace, Isaiah volunteers for God's mission with confidence. Isaiah is eager both to serve the Lord and to deliver essential truth to his people in Judah.
Isaiah 6:8–13 finds Isaiah newly cleansed with his sin atoned for. In response to the Lord's question about who to send, Isaiah eagerly volunteers to take God's message to his people in Judah. The Lord reveals to Isaiah that the message will not penetrate the hearts of the people. They will reject the warnings about the coming judgment. Yet they will not be given any excuses. Isaiah must continue to preach until that judgment happens and the land is laid to waste with the people are exiled. A remnant will remain, however.
Isaiah 6 describes the vision of God, experienced by Isaiah, which began his work as a prophet. He sees the Lord in royal robes sitting on a throne in the temple. There are angelic seraphim calling out to each other about His holiness. Isaiah is overwhelmed by his own uncleanness until one seraph touches his lips with a burning coal from the altar. With his sin symbolically atoned for, Isaiah volunteers to go to his people on behalf of the Lord. The message he preaches will not penetrate their dull hearts. Yet Isaiah must preach until the judgment comes.
Isaiah 6 seems to answer the question of why Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1) was qualified to speak of Judah's sin and the Lord's coming judgment. The previous five chapters have already been on this topic. Isaiah describes seeing God in the temple on a throne, while hearing seraphim calling out about the Lord's holiness. After his lips are cleansed, Isaiah volunteers to take the Lord's message to his people Judah. The Lord shows Isaiah that message will not be received and that he will preach until the judgment comes. Chapters 7 and 8 detail Isaiah's early prophecies, including a famous prediction about the Messiah.
Isaiah is among the most important prophetic books in the entire Bible. The first segment details God's impending judgment against ancient peoples for sin and idolatry (Isaiah 1—35). The second part of Isaiah briefly explains a failed assault on Jerusalem during the rule of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36—39). The final chapters predict Israel's rescue from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40—48), the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49—57), and the final glory of Jerusalem and God's people (Isaiah 58—66).
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:45:38 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.