Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Several questions arise as we read these words. Why is God asking for service instead of discharging the work Himself? He can speak in tones which would make the proudest quail; He can unfold a majesty before which the whole nation should be subdued. Or again, if He needs service, why does He wait for volunteers? Why does He not compel servants to enter upon this mission, as He imposed on Moses the task of leading the people of Israel out of the land of bondage?
I. THE DIVINE CALL: — "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
1. Why should God thus ask human service? We cannot doubt for a moment how independent our glorious God might be of all mere human resources.
(1) The great purposes which God seeks to accomplish can best be achieved through human instrumentality. God craves from men, not the unconscious response which the mown grass makes to the showers, or dewdrops to the sunlight. He desires intelligent, trustful, loving union with Himself, and it may be that such ends as these are better obtained through human instrumentality than by an overpowering exhibition of the Divine majesty and glory. As the light comes to us through the atmosphere, which lessens its dazzling power, so that we are illuminated instead of being blinded with excess of light, so God gives to us His commands and messages through human tongues and language, lest we should be overpowered.
(2) God means to educate His servants by using them for His purposes. When He says, "Whom shall I send," it is not that He is destitute of angelic hosts who would thankfully accept the commission. He knows how our human hearts will be educated by the very ministry we render.
2. Notice what is involved in such a call as this. When God says, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us," He pledges Himself to endue with authority, and to endow with all needful gifts, the man who answers the call.
II. THE RESPONSE OF THE PROPHET. "Here am I; send me."
1. What could have led the prophet to offer himself for a Divine mission? How had he the courage to step forward and volunteer? Did he not shrink from the vast issues involved in the work? Did he not understand the dangers into which he would plunge? Did he not know how hard it would be to reach men's hearts around him with the solemn message? He knew it all, but he stepped forward in the simplicity of a perfect faith, and said, "Here am I; send me." You will perceive in the foregoing verse an account of his preparation for receiving this call. He was prepared by a sense of pardoning love. In the fulness of a loving, grateful heart, he stepped forward and accepted the mission.
2. Notice the willingness with which the prophet offered himself. He steps forward as one who feels it an honour, and is ready for any sacrifice which the honour may entail. This is the light in which we may wisely look on Christian service.
III. THE DIVINE ACCEPTANCE OF THE PROPHET'S OFFER. God said, "Go." You have just that very simple succession of events. God asking for service, the prophet offering himself, and God accepting his services. If God has given you aptitude in dealing with the experiences of men, go into the homes of the poor and destitute, ministering consolation to their sorrows. If God has given you warm sympathies with the young, go into the ranks of the Sunday school, draw young hearts around you, and win them to Christ. If God has given you influence with men, go to the drunkard and the fallen and seek to reclaim them from the depths of degradation in which they are sunk. If God has given you the tongue of the wise to speak a word in season, which shall be as apples of gold in pictures of silver, go and use the power in private talk with the men you meet in daily life.
(C. B. Symes, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.