Last time we looked at the prayer of Samuel and Paul asking God to speak.
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”1 Samuel 3:10b
Once Samuel prayed for God to speak and was attentive to what God was speaking he had a choice to act or not. I want to look at the second part of that prayer. The choice to act or not. Throughout Scripture we see examples of men and women who heard the voice of God.
The church today, is constantly asking that the Holy Spirit would speak, but it becomes dangerous when we take the time to listen and hear what God is speaking. I encourage you to check out the last blog for help in beginning the process of going from safe prayers to dangerous prayers with a real desire to hear what He is speaking. If it lines up with our point of view or not. Check it out here
Once you have found yourself hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit you must make the choice like Samuel did. There are 3 responses when God speaks to you. These responses help you to recognize how you view yourself.
1. Jonah: Here I am…Don’t Send Me
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.Jonah 1:1-3
Jonah was a prophet of the Lord. He was a man who had been appointed to take the voice of God to the people. He was a man who asked God to speak in his life. However, when he heard God speak; he didn’t like what God had to say and chose to say, “No Thanks!”
Jonah decided not to follow the Voice of God. He had been a prophet hearing and seeing God at work in Israel, but when it came to this new assignment in his life; he chose to run away from God.
Jonah knew doing what God asked him to do would not be easy or safe. He knew either following God’s voice would end his death or in God having mercy on the people of Nineveh.
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”Jonah 4:1-3
Jonah allowed his personal feelings to get in the way of what God was calling him to do. He didn’t want God to forgive the Ninevites. He wanted them to get what they deserved for being people who were wicked!
Does that sound familiar? Recently there have been a lot of Christians with this mindset.
This leads to the first thing we learn about ourselves with Jonah’s response.
A. I like who and where I am NOW
Jonah did not want his situation or world to change. When we look at the world around us and we are happy about someone “getting what they deserved” we are like Jonah running away from the voice of God. We chose to say, “Here I am” then when we hear His voice that does NOT line up with our worldview or plan for our world or lives we finish the thought with “DONT SEND ME!” or
No Thanks God…I’m Good here…Give them what they deserve…thank you for saving me…Amen!
2. Moses: Here I am…Send Another
The second response when God speaks is what Moses said when He first experienced the power and voice of God in his life.
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
7 The Lord said,…10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”Exodus 3:2-4, 7a, 10-11
Moses had a troubled past. This response to God’s voice can come for a few reasons but often it is because of the feeling of inadequacy. Often we can find ourselves falling back into thinking we aren’t good enough. Moses was a miracle baby. God kept him self and provided a way for him to not be killed when so many others were killed. But Moses still found himself looking at his failures more than his victories. When this happens we find ourselves saying…
“Here I am…Send Another…better or more qualified.”
Moses let the fears and self doubts to influence him more than the voice of God. Moses, like Jonah, heard the voice of God, but their response was not dangerous. Moses’ response shows us the second thing we learn about ourselves.
B. I am still a mess…I can’t…
Moses found himself in a place feeling like he didn’t deserve the great task God had called him too. We are often like Moses when we look at our past mistakes and still feel shame and guilt that we aren’t good enough for God.
Jonah and Moses are examples of how we view grace. Jonah let his view of the world around him to influence his call. Moses let his view of himself influence his call.
Do not allow your view of others faults or your own faults stop you from responding to God’s voice with a dangerous life.
3. Isaiah: Here I am…Send Me
The last response is from Isaiah.
1 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. 2 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. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “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.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 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!”
9 He said, “Go…Isaiah 6:1-9a
Something amazing happens in the expereince Isaiah has with God. He finds himself in the presence of God. Just like Moses and Jonah, Isaiah was not ready when we heard the voice of God. His first thought was like Moses; I am not good enough to be here.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips,Isaiah 6:5a
He thought about those past failures and mistakes that have made him unclean. Those words and thoughts he had. The inadequacy he felt at the moment he say the glory of God. He thought because of his sin he was not worthy.
Moses allowed that thought to cause him to ask God to send someone else.
Then Isaiah realized that even if he was good enough everyone around him was wicked. Very similar to Jonah’s perspective of the Ninevites. Looking at the problems around and concluding they deserve the wrath of God too. Isaiah began to think; I along with everyone else are ruined.
and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”Isaiah 6:5b
Isaiah struggled with the same thoughts as Moses and Jonah, but he did not allow those fears or hardheartedness to stop him.
What happened next; gives us the picture of who we are when we allow God to change us and our situation.
The seraphim burned his lips with fire. Isaiah was able to understand that if God has forgiven your past failures are no longer a problem. Moses was stuck in the past, but God wanted to bring him forward. God showed Isaiah that those past sins, failures, and faults will NOT hold him back from the call. With that freedom he experienced; he realized the people of unclean lips can be truly forgive too. He chose to view others as God does. Not deserving of the forgiveness, but as a people who need forgiveness.
We MUST get to the place in our lives where we don’t allow the view of ourselves or others get in the way of what God is calling us to do!
God is still looking and speaking…”“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah was able to get past his personal problems and the problems of those around him to heard God’s voice and begin living dangerously and answer with,
“Here I am…Send me!”
Isaiah shows us the third response to God’s voice “send me.” This response helps us to see the last thing we learn about ourselves.
C. I am willing and I trust you!
God is looking for willing hearts. He is not looking for perfect people. We must get to a place where we, like Isaiah, recognize it is through God’s great merciful forgiveness that we have life. Willingness to trust that the failures of others isn’t too bad for God to forgive and the failures of our past isn’t too hard for God to forgive.
Praying for God to speak is easy, but praying “send me” will change your life. All of us struggle with these three responses. This is why daily we must choose to respond with “send me.”
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”John 20:21-23
Just like Isaiah, Jesus burned away our sin and made us holy. Then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. We have the voice of the Holy Spirit everyday once we have been saved. It is our responsibility to respond like Isaiah; Send me. In this verse we see that like Jonah the salvation or forgiveness of people may be held in our hands. If we do not follow God’s direction that “Nineveh” may not be forgiven because we chose to let our view of people get in the way.
If you feel like Jonah…”I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God” but are having a hard time showing forgiveness and grace to others. Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me…”
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:17
The Holy Spirit will change your bitterness if you choose to allow Him.
If you feel like Moses…”Who am I…” Jesus says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The power of God through the Holy Spirit will be your strength and your ability.
If you feel like Isaiah…”I am a man of unclean lips…” Jesus says, “Peace be with you!” Just like Isaiah was purified and forgiven you can be forgiven too.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Pray the prayer of Samuel and Isaiah…
“Speak, for your servant is listening.” Then when you hear God’s Voice Respond: “Here I am. Send Me.”