Overview of a prophet.
A priest stands between God and man – speaking to God on behalf of men, and men on behalf of God. In other words, a priest is a mediator. A prophet on the other hand is a person who speaks for God. It took great courage to accept God’s call to be His prophet. Rarely did a prophet have the ‘smooth words’ the people wanted. Course correction does not come with those ‘smooth words’ but that is all too often what the people God was speaking to wanted.
Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Isaiah 30: 10
Isaiah accepted his commission from God knowing that it would not be a simple task.
Also 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.” Isaiah 6: 8
In the next few verses he is told what to tell the people… “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing but do not perceive…”
So he knew from the start it would not be an easy task.
Isaiah lived through the reigns of four kings… and died on the orders of the fifth.
Let’s have a quick look at those kings…
King Uzziah, although he had been a ‘good’ king for most of his years, his pride led to his downfall. He took it upon himself to enter the temple and burn incense to the Lord. This was the task of the priests, not the king, and Uzziah was struck with leprosy and driven from the temple. For the last eleven years of his life Uzziah lived in isolation. 2 Chronicles 26: 21
King Jotham, who succeeded him, was a ‘good’ king…
So Jotham became mighty because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God. 2 Chronicles 27: 6 It may be that this king heeded guidance from Isaiah.
But his son Ahaz was a different person altogether…
He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire according to the abominations of the nations who the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 2 Chron 28: 3
A great deal of the prophet Isaiah’s work was confronting this wicked king. He made an alliance with Assyria which meant that the country paid tribute every year bringing the country low, and in debt.
While he was busy setting up altars to pagan gods, you can be sure that Isaiah brought him the warnings from God, risking his life to do so. But it was Manasseh, the grandson of Ahaz, (Hezekiah’s son) who, according to tradition, murdered Isaiah by having him put a hollow tree and sawn in two.
Being a prophet of God was never easy, and paying with their lives was always a possibility.