Here I am. Send me!

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from 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 ‭6:1-8‬ 

I once heard someone say that there’s a reason God leaves us here on earth even after we become his child and doesn’t just immediately take us home. He has a purpose for us. There is a part of his master plan that directly involves each one of us. We have a job to do. I so desperately want to live out God’s plan for me. I know that part of that is being the best wife, mother, friend, neighbor etc. in the places God puts me. But I also believe there’s more. 

One of Jesus’ parables talks about how certain servants of the king invested gold they had been entrusted with. It’s clear in the story that Jesus wants us to multiply our God-given gifts and opportunities and not just hoard them for ourselves. To the servants that successfully grew their gold, the king’s response was: “Well done good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:23)  I long to hear Jesus say those words to me when I am finally face to face with him. 

When I read the passage above from Isaiah, I notice a few things about Isaiah’s calling and his response. First of all, he saw God. Now although he as a prophet of the Lord to the Israelites he was allowed to have an actual glimpse of God, we can see God, too. All throughout the Bible God shows himself to us. And although we may not see him with our eyes, we can see him with our heart and mind. We can know what he looks like and because of that, we can discern between the things of God and the things of the world. We can recognize the opportunities he provides us to participate in his plan.  

Secondly, Isaiah recognized God’s complete and unmatchable holiness and in contrast, his own unworthiness. God is God. Everything that happens is allowed by him. Nothing is outside of his will. He created the world and everything in it and ultimately everything he has in store will come to pass. We can either be an eager participant or we can sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold. Our decision to get involved or not in no way impacts God’s plan, only our opportunity to be part of it. 

Which leads to Isaiah’s eager response. “Here I am. Send me!” At that point he had no idea what that meant. But it didn’t matter. He knew that by going all-in for God, he could not lose. I want that same eagerness to respond. I want to be an active participant in God’s unfolding plan, not just a sideline spectator! I want to say “Here I am, Send me!” And then see where God takes me!

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We celebrate Christmas because…

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

The book of Isaiah was written 700 years before the birth of Jesus and it contains some of my favorite prophecies about him.  Long before he arrived on the scene, Isaiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to describe the coming Savior to his people. And as we hurry through the Christmas season, it’s crucial to reflect on why we even celebrate Christmas. Sure, most of us understand that Christmas has been hijacked by materialism and we try to regain the proper focus by maybe being a little bit more kind and generous than we are the rest of the year.  We set up our ceremonial manger scene. We might even open our Bible and read the Christmas story.  But when you read this passage in Isaiah, you can’t miss the fact that the birth of Jesus wasn’t just about the Star of Bethlehem, the baby in a manger or the wise men bearing gifts.  The birth of Jesus was God coming as close as he possibly could so that those who really know him can be changed forever. Not just during a festive holiday which doesn’t always take its proper place – but every moment of their life.

Who did Isaiah say the Savior would be? 

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” — Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus and the assurance of eternal salvation through his atoning death are living in darkness. Maybe on the surface it doesn’t always seem that way. Maybe they are successful in life and seem to have it all together, but ultimately they do not have eternal hope. They don’t have answers to life’s hardest questions or the peace that passes understanding when things don’t make sense. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is the great light that shines in the darkness. (John 8:12)

“…you have shattered the yoke that burdens them” — In this world we all have burdens. Financial burdens. Health burdens. Sadness and pain. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus has made a way for us to ultimately be freed from anything that burdens us. As a follower of Christ, we can put our earthly struggles into heavenly perspective and know that Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven where none of the bad things in our life will be allowed. (John 14:1-3)

“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” — God created us to be in relationships. If you think about the people in your life, you can usually describe an attribute of theirs that draws you to them. Some people make you laugh. Some may give good advice. Others comfort. And others give you strength. But if we’re honest we know that no one person can be all things. If we are expecting them to, were setting them up for failure and ourselves up for disappointment. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is all things. He alone can make our joy complete. (John 15:11)

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” — Zeal is an awesome word. It means: devotion, fierceness, intensity, passion. God’s zeal for us. His devotion. His passion. His deep, unmatched love for us accomplished our salvation. We celebrate Christmas because God loved us so much that he sent his only Son. (John 3:16)