“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.””
Genesis 22:1 NKJV
Here I am
The Lord places moments of decision in every one’s life. For some it is that moment when they decide to served the Lord in a way greater than they have ever before. For others, it is an act of obedience, doing something hard, but following through by faith. For others, and most importantly, it is that moment when the one closest hell, says yes to Jesus and is saved.
While reading my bible this morning, I encountered one of those moments. Joseph was asked to do something for his father, as his older siblings were out tending the sheep. Jacob wanted know what was going on.
“Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.””
Genesis 37:12-13 NKJV
Joseph, the dreamer of dreams was the favorite of his father and hated by his brothers. When he went to check on them, he was attracted, stripped of his coat of many colors, and cast into a pit. He was sold into captivity. On the surface of all of this, one might think that this is the price of obedience, but God used what was bad, and used for the good of the children of Israel, and, in the fullness of time, the rest of humanity.
Sometimes the Lord puts our faith to the test, as was the case with Abraham. After years of waiting he was finally blessed with his one and only son. In the midst of the blessing, the Lord tested him by commanding him to do the unthinkable: sacrifice this son, his only heir.
“Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.””
Genesis 22:2 NKJV
Abraham did not hesitate, as he went about preparations to carry out that the Lord had commanded. At the moment he was about to sacrifice his one and only son, the Lord stopped him, as the faith of Abraham was confirmed, for he trusted God.
None of us, who are New Testament followers of Jesus, have been asked to sacrifice a child, but we are often asked to sacrifice things that keep us from complete obedience in the Lord. In our case, it might be a habit or a hang up that has kept us grounded, or it might be a relationship that pulls us down. In many cases it is an attitude that inhibits our ability to go and tell others about Jesus. In our obedience, we demonstrate our trust in God.
God has great blessings of those He has chosen. One of the struggles for the Christian is believing that the Lord has the power to change the human heart. So often we find ourselves trapped in a sin area, and have the feeling that there is no hope. We hear what the Lord says to us in His word, but we have trouble believing Him. The material reality seems to intense and insurmountable.
“Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’”
Genesis 31:11 NKJV
Jacob was commanded by the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, to return home. The Lord had reaffirmed the blessing that had been given to Abraham. Even so, he feared his brother Esau greatly. He had stolen the birthright and the blessing, rejected by Esau. Upon his leaving, he was under threat, and now he was to return.
“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ””
Genesis 32:10-12 NKJV
On the eve of the return, Jacob wrestled with God, and was humbled in his flesh. He would not be able to defend himself if it came to battle. But God. The Lord had gone before him and affirmed the blessing. Jacob had prevailed and the Lord blessed.
“And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.””
Genesis 32:28 NKJV
Every step closer to his brother was met with greater fear. As he approached his brother, Jacob bowed to the ground seven times, hobbled by the Lord as he limped.
“But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”
Genesis 33:4 NKJV
What a wonderful picture of the power of God to heal relationships, no matter how fractured.
Sometimes, the Lord reveals Himself in circumstances that we behold through eyes of faith. He shows us that He is moving, working, and our awareness of His movement is an invitation. Moses saw the bush that did not burn, and desired to get a closer look. He could see that God was doing something very special.
“So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.””
Exodus 3:4 NKJV
“Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”
Exodus 3:5-6 NKJV
God called Moses into service to be used to bring about the liberation of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Moses hesitated, offering excuses, but the Lord persisted. Moses obeyed.
Many have been called into service, not feeling equipped, but like Moses, the Lord has the power to equip the willing for service. We do not serve the Lord from our own power or our own talent, by the drive of the Holy Spirit. I know that all that I do could not be done if not for the Lord.
Who God calls, He equips.
“that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!””
I Samuel 3:4 NKJV
Samuel was dedicated to the Lord by his mother Hannah. From the moment of His first calling, he was used to do hard things, as he confronted the his mentor, confronted Saul the kings, and anointed God’s choice, David. He was a faithful servant, a man of faith used mightily by God.
Often we think of the best people when we think of ministry. In Isaiah was a man with a foul mouth, but he had a heart that desired to serve the Lord. God has the power to equip, refine and cleansing even the most vile sinner into a servant of the most High God.
“And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.””
Isaiah 6:3-7 NKJV
“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 NKJV
“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.””
Acts 9:10 NKJV
Finally, my bothers and sisters, we come to the times we are in. The world is seemingly against us, and we have been commissioned by Jesus to take the message of the Gospel into all the world. The Lord has given us great examples in His word of people asked to do the dangerous things. Ananias was a humble disciple from Damascus, called to go to Saul, the killer of the saints and baptism him. Ananias knew of the reputation of Saul, who would become Paul.
“So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.””
Acts 9:11-12 NKJV
“Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.”
Acts 9:13 NKJV
By faith, he went to the street called Straight and fulfilled his commission. We too are called to do the hard things. May we be a people who when called by Jesus respond loudly:
HERE I AM!
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