Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom can I send?
Who will go for Us?” So I said, “Here I am. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NCV)
Ever feel inadequate? Like you just don’t quite measure up to everyone else? You see others going out and advancing God’s kingdom, but you don’t think you’ve got what it takes for Him to use you. Mother Teresa? Billy Graham? Sure. You? Not so much.
Isaiah could certainly relate. When Uzziah, the king of Israel, died, his world was suddenly thrown into a tailspin. Isaiah had grown up around the king’s court, so the news of Uzziah’s death left him feeling lost, confused, uncertain and hopeless. But at this low point in Isaiah’s life, God appeared to him.
Isaiah writes, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted.” It’s an awe-inspiring scene—God sitting on His throne while heavenly creatures of fire fly all around Him crying out: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.”
Face to face with a holy God, Isaiah is overcome with a tremendous sense of his own inadequacy and unworthiness. He cries out: “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure.”
Isaiah’s response is perfectly understandable. It’s all too easy to feel like we don’t measure up when we compare ourselves to those around us—how much more so when standing in front of God! It may be because of our sins, our mistakes or the circumstances of our past. However, the reality is, before God, we are all in the same boat. Before Him, all comparisons are meaningless.
But watch what happens to Isaiah next: God sends an angel to pick up a live burning coal that was so hot the Bible says the angel had to use tongs just to pick it up! The angel brings the coal over to Isaiah and places it on his lips, declaring: “Look, your guilt is taken away, because this hot coal has touched your lips. Your sin is taken away.” Immediately, while he’s still standing there processing all of this, Isaiah hears God ask a question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
When you were a little kid in school, how did you react when the teacher looked around the classroom and said, “I have a special errand that needs to get done today, and I’m looking for someone I can trust to deliver the message for me”? Did you slink back into your seat and hope you weren’t noticed? Or did your hand shoot straight up in the air with barely contained excitement? “Pick me! Pick me!”
That’s exactly how Isaiah responds. When he hears the Lord asking: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”, he doesn’t look around to see if anyone else will volunteer first. He doesn’t say, “I’m not qualified.” He doesn’t even ask where he’s going. Without hesitation, he jumps up and cries: “Here I am! Send me!”
Why does Isaiah’s attitude change? What causes him to change from declaring, “I am impure!” to saying, “Here I am! Send me!”?
It’s simple. He is cleansed by the fire of God. In God’s eyes, he is declared clean. All of his doubts about himself and fears about the future vanish in light of God’s cleansing, redeeming work in his life.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples found themselves in a situation similar to Isaiah’s. Before leaving, Jesus told them: “You will be My witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.” But now, Jesus—their Master, the one who had spoken those words—was gone. Their future was uncertain. Timid, fearful and not knowing what to do, 120 men and women isolated themselves in the Upper Room and bolted the door shut.
Ten days later, however, everything changed. Those 120 men and women came out of the Upper Room filled with courage and boldly went out into the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming the message of Jesus to everyone they met.
Why? What changed?
It’s simple. The fire of God had fallen upon them, and they were filled with His Holy Spirit. All their fears, doubts, weaknesses and insecurities suddenly became meaningless in light of God’s all-sufficient power in their lives. And God used those 120 men and women to ignite a fire that continues to blaze today.
Don’t let your past and present mistakes or circumstances hold you back and keep you from answering God’s call. It’s not about you and your abilities, strengths or qualifications; it’s about Him. He has redeemed you. In His eyes, you are clean. And what God has called clean, no one—not even you—can call unclean.
God is asking today, “Whom shall I send? Who will go?” Will you answer and say, “Here I am! Send me!”?