Typically the call of Isaiah is preached at things like ordinations, sometimes at graduations, or at commissioning of missionaries. We end up focusing on the end lines, “Here I am, send me!” When we do that, we miss so much from this encounter.
Isaiah has a vision that puts him in the presence of God, in God’s throne room. Isaiah’s initial response is that he is in trouble. While he says “Woe!” our modern translation might not be printable. Isaiah recognizes his sin, his own, personal, present to him sin, as a man with unclean lips, and the sin he participates in, is surrounded by, that his neighbors commit that he doesn’t speak out against, the people of unclean lips he lives among.
Before Isaiah can be sent, he needs to have clean lips. He needs to be forgiven. A coal is touched to his lips, burning away his sin. Now he can go out. But to go out, to be sent by God, requires both acknowledgment and confession of sin and forgiveness.
As we go out in the name of Christ, are we willing to say “Woe!” (or a modern version), confess, be forgiven, and then be sent, or do we think we can go out without confessing?