1. SEEING OTHERS AS THE HOPELESS ONES
a. How have others expressed the type of feelings Isaiah would have had in beholding great wickedness in God’s professed people? Psalm 94:3, 4; Jeremiah 4:14.
“It seemed as if God’s purpose for Israel were about to fail and that the rebellious nation was to suffer a fate similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“In the face of such conditions it is not surprising that when, during the last year of Uzziah’s reign, Isaiah was called to bear to Judah God’s messages of warning and reproof, he shrank from the responsibility. He well knew that he would encounter obstinate resistance. As he realized his own inability to meet the situation and thought of the stubbornness and unbelief of the people for whom he was to labor, his task seemed hopeless. Should he in despair relinquish his mission and leave Judah undisturbed to their idolatry? Were the gods of Nineveh to rule the earth in defiance of the God of heaven?
“Such thoughts as these were crowding through Isaiah’s mind as he stood under the portico of the temple.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 306, 307.
2. A LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT
a. What did Isaiah see in vision as he stood before the temple? Isaiah 6:1–4.
“Suddenly the gate and the inner veil of the temple seemed to be uplifted or withdrawn, and [Isaiah] was permitted to gaze within, upon the holy of holies, where even the prophet’s feet might not enter. There rose up before him a vision of Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, while the train of His glory filled the temple. On each side of the throne hovered the seraphim, their faces veiled in adoration, as they ministered before their Maker and united in the solemn invocation, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory,’ until post and pillar and cedar gate seemed shaken with the sound, and the house was filled with their tribute of praise.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 307.
“Did [Isaiah] think himself unworthy before he had a view of God’s glory?—No; he imagined himself in a righteous state before God.”—The Review and Herald, June 4, 1889.
b. Upon seeing this vision, what abruptly happened to Isaiah’s image of himself (keeping in mind that he had already delivered mes-sages of rebuke to Israel)? Isaiah 6:5.
“As Isaiah beheld this revelation of the glory and majesty of his Lord, he was overwhelmed with a sense of the purity and holiness of God. How sharp the contrast between the matchless perfection of his Creator, and the sinful course of those who, with himself, had long been numbered among the chosen people of Israel and Judah!”—Prophets and Kings, p. 307.
“Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same condemnation he had pronounced upon them. He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in his worship of God. He had not known this until the vision was given him of the Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ ”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1139.
3. THE CALL OF THE HOUR
a. What is needed today, just as much as it was in Isaiah’s time? Joel 2:12, 13.
“Close heart searching is needed. With tears and heartbroken confession we need to draw night to God that He may draw nigh to us.”—Evangelism, p. 510.
“There must be thorough repentance, faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, vigilant watchfulness, unceasing prayer, and diligent searching of the Scriptures.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 338.
“Pure and undefiled religion is to be brought into the sanctuary of the soul. Each has a work to do, and no friend or minister can do it for him; each must repent for himself, and confess his sins to God. Make thorough work of it. Believe for yourself; have the grace of God in your heart for yourself. God will have his true, faithful witnesses in every walk of life, testifying to the power of his grace. They may be humble, but they will be living in the sunshine of God’s countenance, with the Bible as their guide.
“See, O see, where your duties have been neglected, and where you have given an example to both believers and unbelievers which would lead them away from God, away from righteousness and the spirit of the truth. Jesus would have men come to him, trust in him, rely upon him, and have their experience founded upon him alone.”—The Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.
b. What experience does God desire for those who follow Him? Proverbs 4:18.
“The Lord bids you to come up higher, to reach a holier standard. You must have an experience much deeper than you have yet even thought of having. . . . Give to Jesus the heart’s best and holiest affections. Treasure every ray of light. Cherish every desire of the soul after God. Give yourselves the culture of spiritual thoughts and holy communings. You have seen but the first rays of the early dawn of His glory. As you follow on to know the Lord, you will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. . . . Having repented of our sins, confessed them, and found pardon, we are to continue to learn of Christ until we come into the full noontide of a perfect gospel faith.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 317, 318.
4. OH, THAT OUR EYES MIGHT BE OPENED!
a. Explain the far-reaching extent of our need for repentance. Joel 2:15–17.
“Let the many ministers of Christ sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, and seek God while He is to be found. Call upon Him while you are now lying at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Divest yourselves of all pride and as representative guardians of the churches, weep between the porch and the altar. . . . Pray, oh, pray for the outpouring of the Spirit of God!”—Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 189.
“Instead of lifting up their souls in self-sufficiency, ministers and people should be confessing their sins before God and one another.”—Ibid., p.390.
b. What do we all need to understand in this solemn work? Romans 3:9–12.
“There is too much comparing ourselves among ourselves, taking poor fallible mortals for a pattern when we have a sure, unerring Pattern. The people of God should not measure themselves by the world, nor by the opinions of men, nor by what they once were before embracing the truth. But their faith and position in the world, as they now are, must be compared with what they would have been if their course had been continually onward and upward since they professed to be followers of Christ. This is the only safe comparison that can be made. In every other, there will be self-deception. If the moral character and spiritual state of God’s people do not correspond with the blessings, privileges, and light which have been conferred upon them, they are weighed in the balance and found wanting. Angels make their report, Wanting!”—The Review and Herald, August 31, 1886.
“We cannot afford to live on the husks of others’ faults or failings. Evilspeaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image. But by beholding Jesus, talking of His love and perfection of character, we become changed into His image.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 492.
5. CONTRITION AND CLEANSING
a. Once Isaiah’s heart was humbled as never before, what did the God of heaven do for His servant? Isaiah 6:6, 7. What should we learn from this?
“The vision given to Isaiah [in chapter 6] represents the condition of God’s people in the last days. They are privileged to see by faith the work that is going forward in the heavenly sanctuary. ‘And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.’ As they look by faith into the holy of holies, and see the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, they perceive that they are a people of unclean lips,—a people whose lips have often spoken vanity, and whose talents have not been sanctified and employed to the glory of God. Well may they despair as they contrast their own weakness and unworthiness with the purity and loveliness of the glorious character of Christ. But if they, like Isaiah, will receive the impression the Lord designs shall be made upon the heart, if they will humble their souls before God, there is hope for them. The bow of promise is above the throne, and the work done for Isaiah will be performed in them. God will respond to the petitions coming from the contrite heart.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1139.
b. What should be our daily prayer? Psalm 51:2, 7.
“Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, you will never come.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 205, 206.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Before the temple vision, how did Isaiah feel about himself and others?
2. How did the vision of heavenly glory transform the prophet’s attitude?
3. Describe the work that needs to be done by all of us today.
4. Explain what happens when we become faultfinders.
5. What assurance given to Isaiah echoes down to every contrite soul?