Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"A Willing Heart"

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?"

Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." Isaiah 6:8
This one verse contains some pretty powerful words. Words that have the power to change a person's life. Powerful because they are the words when God is asking, "Who?" and Isaiah is answering the call to go and to speak for Him with words of surrender. I think its pretty safe to say that most all of us have used the words that Isaiah spoke back to God. I can pretty much guarantee that at some time you've sung them in a worship song or cried them out to Him from the bottom of your heart in prayer. I know I have on more than one occasion over the years, after all isn't it the hearts desire of every Christian to be used of God and to bring glory to His name?

When I was a brand new baby Christian, and I read Isaiah 20 I was amazed that Isaiah obeyed! ... God spoke saying, "Go, remove the sackcloth from your body, and take the sandals off your feet." And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, "Just as My servant Isaiah has walked around naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then shall they be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory."

At the time I knew that if God asked me to be that kind of example to my nation I would have struggled in my listening and my obedience. Isaiah was to dress just as a prisoner of war would have, naked and bare, for three years speaking the word of the Lord. For three years he was being a living prophetic sign to the nation to, "Not to put their trust Egypt as their source. His words, his actions, even his dress were all to be a sign that said, "Look to the Lord for your help!"

Isaiah had used the words, "I am here. Send me!" He used them because he meant them. He chose to surrender all. He proved it with his obedience to every word God spoke. We've used these as well, but do we, just as I did as a baby Christian, put qualifiers on that vow or do we truly count the cost and surrender? Are we willing, no matter the assignment, to be obedient to His will? Are we willing to be a living prophetic sign, maybe even naked to the nations we live in? Are we willing to be thrown into pits and made fun of like Jeremiah? Are we willing to lay on our sides for days on end like Ezekiel? Are we willing to be sent to speak to kings like Daniel? Are we willing to go to the nations? Are we willing to be called into service as an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher? Are we willing to be holy and set our affections on the things above?  Are we willing to truly be surrendered to His will? Are we willing to surrender to the leading and teachings of the Holy Spirit?

Did you know the word surrender isn't in the Bible so you can't go to the Strong's and look it up to see exactly what it means? The concept is there all over the place in actions; and even in so many of the words that Jesus spoke, but the actual word, surrender, it isn't there. There is a favorite expression of mine in Exodus 35:5, 21, 22, 29. 'Whoever is of a willing heart let him bring it as an offering,' 'everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing brought the Lord's offering for the work of the tabernacle,' 'They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought offering to the Lord, and 'The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.'

To surrender requires a willing heart to bring your words, your deeds, your actions, your will as an offering to the Lord for the purposes of serving Him. Jesus said in Luke 14:28 to count the cost. We need to make sure we are truly willing when we tell Him, "Here am I. Send Me!" Why? Because He may want you to lay bare your passion for Him before the nations as sign and a wonder. He may require you to declare before all mankind, "He alone is God. Put your Trust in Him."

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