An Extraordinary Call
by Joey Bonifacio
This is the second of a three-part blog series: “Extraordinary.”
The greatest mistake would be to treat something extraordinary as something common.
These days, calls are so common because of mobile phones. However, not all calls are equal. There are calls that are special, there are calls that may be inconvenient but we cannot afford not to answer. But one thing all calls have in common is that they demand a response. There are calls we excitedly pick up. There are calls that we ignore and pretend not to hear. It’s a chosen response.
We need to recognize that even today, we are receiving a very, very special call.
For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. Leviticus 11:44
From the beginning, God wants to relate with us. He wants to have a relationship with us. And this is why He calls each and every one of us to be holy just like Him.
The story of Isaiah is different compared to Peter, who was a fisherman and David who was a shepherd. Isaiah was a prominent man who even had connections with the royal family. But when he encountered God it turned his world around. We read of his story in Isaiah 6 and learn why the call is so extraordinary.
The Source of the Call
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:3
The call is uncommon because of the source of the call— God is calling you.
We tend to put God in a box. We have this idea of how God is, but if we truly understand who is calling us, we will be quaking in our boots. We need to take this call seriously. The God of the universe is calling us. The Bible says that when God gets angry the whole earth trembles. God is the one that holds this entire universe together by the power of His word. And He is calling us.
If you fully understand who is calling you, you will pay full attention.
The Object of the Call
You and I are far from special. But because a holy, unblemished, pure, and righteous God would call us to a relationship with Him, it makes this call uncommon.
We sometimes think that we are better than another person. We forget that all sin is detestable to God. Our problem is not just our behavior, it’s our hearts. It’s us.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6
This means the best things, the most righteous, most benevolent actions we have done, if we are to gather all these things and bring them to God in his throne room— God will say, “get all those filthy rags out of my face.”
We are unrighteous as Paul wrote in Romans 3: 10-18:
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
We are insignificant even as God referred to Jacob in Isaiah 41:14: “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”
This call is so uncommon because despite our insignificance, God in his holiness, wanted us to be His children. God in his great magnitude would stoop down for you and for me. And that He would call us by our name.
The Cost of the Call
Lastly, this call is so special because the call came with a price.
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:6-7
We may look at the verse, and say “what price?” He just took a coal and touched his lips. But that call coal came from an altar. The altar is where lambs, goats, bulls were sacrificed for the sins of Israel. This system was not enough to pay for sins permanently.
In Romans 6:23, it says “the wages of sin is death.” The cost of the call was God deciding to send His one and only Son to be sacrificed in an altar in the shape of a cross. Our God not only knows our name but He was so willing to give his best, to shed His Son’s blood on our behalf, so that we can be holy.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned— every one— to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6
This call is so extraordinary because it was covered with the blood of Christ.
God’s call demands a response. This is the most important call that you will ever hear, that you will ever encounter. This is a call you cannot afford to miss.