Isaiah 6 presents a depressing picture of God’s people.
It also, after five chapters of oracles against God’s people, introduces us to the prophet who delivered them. Tradition has it that he was a relative of King Hezekiah. On the other hand, his ready access to the Temple and knowledge of its functions may indicate he was of the tribe of Levi. But whatever his ancestry, he was deeply aware of the spiritual bankruptcy of God’s people.
Even Judah must have sensed their low point when Isaiah was called to be a prophet. It was, after all, the year King Uzziah died. Up to that time, his reign had been the longest of all the Judean kings and, perhaps with the exception of the reign of Jehoshaphat, the most prosperous since Solomon. What would happen to Judah (Isaiah was a prophet to the southern kingdom)?
Isaiah saw God’s people as unclean and because he was one of them, their destiny stuck to him too. God, however, gave him hope with forgiveness, yet his message would, for half of his book, be one of doom.
God called Isaiah to fail. He was told to preach to a people who would not listen to him, and to do so until the destined punishment he was called to proclaim became a reality. The depressing picture is that God, in calling Isaiah, knew His people wouldn’t listen.
Why do it then?
Surely not because God felt they needed a warning. He’d warned them plenty. But because God’s love for them was so great that the warnings would continue until judgment arrived. God is never content to leave it with a warning. He loves forever.