“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8 ESV
The hymn, “Here I am, Lord,” repeats in my mind as I open my Bible to the pages of this verse. Long before I knew who Isaiah was or how to find this verse in the Bible, the words of God’s truth were being watered in my heart. God’s timing is impeccable, and as we learn a little more about Isaiah’s response to God today, let us pray for God to reveal truths to us He’s been watering in us all along.
What Does ‘Here I Am Lord. Send Me’ Mean?
The Book of Isaiah begins with the prophet’s vision of what is to happen to God’s people consequentially for their rebellion against and forgetfulness of Him. They had begun to take credit for their prosperity and forgot the Source of all their blessing. In the vision, Isaiah sees a glimpse of God (Isaiah 6:1-5) and then sees himself inserted in the vision:
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs form the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:6-8)
Isaiah, despite the calamity in his vision up to this point, sees a glimpse of God and responds in obedience. “The prophet most certainly did not expect to hear what God told him would be the outcome of his ministry,” Ligonier Ministries explains, “Instead of bringing vast numbers of Judahites to repentance, the Lord was sending Isaiah to preach so that the people’s hearts would be hardened even further.” Isaiah 6:9-10 reads:
“He said, “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be every seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close there eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, here with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.
Isaiah’s faith in God led him to obedience, despite he task or the message to deliver. “When God shows himself to be holy, what we see is glory,” Pastor John Piper explains, “The holiness of God is concealed glory. The glory of God is his revealed holiness.” Isaiah seems to have been guided by a focus on the glory of God rather than fully understanding the ways and purposes of God and His methods and messages. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record Jesus quoting this passage of Scripture, to explain why he taught in parables. Luke 8:10 reads,
“He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’”
Why Is ‘Here I Am Lord, Send Me’ Significant Considering the Overall Book of Isaiah?
Isaiah’s name is translated, The LORD is salvation. Salvation means the deliverance from harm. Isaiah’s mission was to remind the people who the Source of all their blessing and prosperity was. “Isaiah ministered to God’s people during an era of great political turmoil,” the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters notes. The Northern kingdom had fallen and had been taken captive, and the Southern kingdom was heavily attacked (Encyclopedia of The Bible). The Assyrian Empire was expanding at the decline of Israel. “Isaiah warned Judah that their sin would bring captivity at the hands of Babylonia,” the NIV Study Bible explains. Isaiah not only predicted the fall and captivity, but also the rescue and restoration of God’s people in the future.
Isaiah’s vision predicted the terrible fall and captivity of God’s people. Yet his response to God was, “Here I am!” When we truly know God and are willing to serve Him, the details of the mission don’t matter. In fact, many times, I’m sure the prophets of the Old Testament and the early apostles and disciples of the church would rather not have known ahead of time the suffering they would have to endure or the dire messages they would faithfully deliver. Some did know and responded with “Here I am!” anyway. Isaiah’s faithful response in the midst of a rebellious nation about to come under the fire of God’s judgment displays true faith in God. God is sovereign and in control, His ways are not our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
How Can Christians Still Respond to God Like This Today?
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21b
We can apply Job’s experience and Isaiah’s response to our daily lives in two ways. Christ-followers today can respond to God like Isaiah by knowing God. He is the source of all life. He gives and takes away. He is the source of our joy and strength. He tells us in His holy Word when we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him. We awake each day in a self-centered setting, and our society begs us to prioritize self-care and self-worth. God begs us to see the world and to honor Him with our lives in an opposite way.
We are called to bring glory to Him with our lives. Daily submitting to His will for our lives over our selfish settings requires us to seek him diligently by the discipline of daily time in prayer and reading the Bible. This is how we know Him and seek Him with all of our hearts. By laying down our lives, goals, and selfish desires for what His plans and purposes are for our lives. “Our fathers die. Our heroes die. Our kings die. We die,” David Mathis wrote, “But not the holy God. Yahweh is alive.”
God is alive and active in His Word, and in our daily lives. He seeks relational connection with us, making it possible despite our sin and His holiness through Christ Jesus. We respond, “Here I am!” when we make time to put Him first in our lives. When we do, He promises His plans for us are good, more than we can ask for or imagine. Not a promise for material prosperity, but of eternal hope and peace in heaven with Him through Jesus.
Secondly, in our daily lives, we must create a habit of thankfulness. When we find ourselves in a season of abundance and blessing, thriving and prospering, we must be careful to align our circumstances with gratitude to God. He is the source of all blessing. “Material abundance can be dangerous because, if we are not careful, we can forget the Source of all blessings and trust in the blessings themselves,” Ligonier Ministries explains, “No matter our level of prosperity, may we not forget that every good gift comes from Him.”
Job 1:21 reminds us, He gives and He takes away. But also, His plans are not our plans and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Even in seasons of sadness, sickness, and extremely hard battles, we can obediently create and foster the discipline of thankfulness and gratitude. It is a healing serum to our souls, regardless of our circumstances, to know undoubtedly God is working all things for good despite how we feel or what our current status or situation is.
What Would it Mean to Pray This Verse?
Praise and glory and honor to You, Yahweh! Abba, Father; Jesus, our Savior; and Holy Spirit, our Comforter, and Counselor! Thank You for life, love, forgiveness, salvation, and mercy. We stand in awe of who You are, and picture Isaiah’s vision to get a glimpse into heaven. Thank You for Your Word, and for leaving behind examples of faithful servants like Isaiah to learn from. None of the people in the Bible were perfect, God, yet You choose to work through so many of them in huge and miraculous ways. We want to be able to say, “Here I am!” Lord, when You call us. So, prepare our hearts with obedience and discipline to seek You in Your word and through prayer. Build in us an unshakable faith, and diligent understanding of who You are. Grow in us a trust in You, and give us a willing spirit. Bless our hearts with strength and courage to say, “Here I am,” as we follow Christ Jesus home to You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Isaiah was a faithful prophet who delivered a hard message. As we walk out into the world each day, we can take the inspiration of his faith and many others in the Bible, as we persevere in pursuit of our own callings. May we always respond to God, “Here I am!” Jesus commanded us to love God and each other, and to “Go.” Life within the love of Christ will have many “Here I am” moments and “Go” seasons. By seeking God in His word and in prayer through Christ, we can be sure we are ready to respond in faith to the mission and purpose He has written into our lives.