HERE I AM/Behold: Hineni. (Strong’s 2009).
Sounds like hee’neh, hee’neh’nee, heen’nee.
Hinneh often get’s translated as Behold. This is not a word we use today, very often, and so I think most people tend to gloss over it when they come across it in scripture. That’s a shame, because a careful consideration of behold can tell us some very interesting things. Behold was a way to say “Look… look what I’m pointing at”. The initial use of hinneh in the Bible, was within God’s first speech to the newly created human beings:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold [Look!: Hinneh], I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold [w-hinneh], it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
In this instance, God was saying, “Hinneh! Look! Look what I’m pointing at… All this, I made for you.”
Here I Am
Hinneh can be found over 800 times in the Old Testament, but there are a few times that we can find a “Behold, I” moment. This has often been translated as “Here I am”, from the Hebrew words hineni and hin’ni. This was often a response used when an authority figure called on you, such as Jacob speaking to his son, Joseph:
Then his [Joseph’s] brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he [Joseph] said to him,
“I will go.” “Here I am” [Hineni]. Then he [Jacob] said to him, “Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me.”…
Joseph’s obedience to his father was the beginning of his tumultuous life. Joseph’s brothers hated him. His strange dreams often made them look bad, and they were jealous of Joseph’s close relationship with their father. They plotted to kill him, but at the last minute sold him into slavery. With God’s guiding hand, however, Joseph worked his way up, from Egyptian slave to Egyptian elite, and his acquired power in this foreign land ended up saving his family.
By obeying his own father, Joseph was fulfilling the plan of the Eternal Father. His “Here I Am” statement was originally in response to his father, but it turned out to be a response to God’s plans. In readiness he fulfilled the will of God.
King David understood this… he made himself available to God’s will, regardless of the consequences. One of the hardest times of David’s life was when his own son conspired against him. Absalom desired the power of the throne for himself, and David and his supporters had to flee in exile. They took the ark of God with them:
2 Samuel 15:25-26
The king [David] said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favour in the sight of YHWH, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am [hin’ni], let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”
This may not sound like much with a quick read, but the point is, David said to God, “Look at me. Here I Am. Do what you need to do”. This was a risky move, but it paid off. As a result of David’s humility God returned kingship to him, and Absolom’s rebellion was ended.
The prophet Jeremiah understood what it was like to be surrounded by enemies. He brought bad news to Jerusalem and the people hated him for it. Jeremiah recognized those who had authority over him, politically, but he stood strong knowing that God was the One in full control:
Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the officials and to all the people, saying, “A death sentence for this man [Jeremiah]! For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing.”
Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, “YHWH sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of YHWH your God; and YHWH will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. But as for me,
behold here I am [hin’ni], I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly YHWH has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets, “No death sentence for this man! For he has spoken to us in the name of YHWH our God.”
Jeremiah was bold. Standing in the midst of them he essentially said, “Look! Focus! You think I’m under your power? We’re all under God’s power. YHWH is the great Authority and I am his messenger. Kill me and you will held responsible under God’s justice.” With Jeremiah’s argument, they recognized that the words he spoke were spoken in the name of YHWH, and they backed down.
Deception: Here I Am or Am I Here?
Hineni was a very brave, look at me, statement, but in one instance it was twisted and used for deception:
Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son”. And he [Esau] said to him, “Here I am” [Hineni].
Isaac asked Esau to hunt, prepare a meal for him so that he could officially bless Esau before he died, passing on the birthright to him. Rebekah overheard the conversation and convinced her younger son, Jacob, to disguise himself as Esau, and present Isaac with meat from a hunt, in order to gain the birthright of the eldest. Jacob agreed:
…Then he [Jacob] came to his father and said, “My father.” And he [Isaac] said, “Here I am” [Hineni]. Who are you, my son?”
Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”
Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?”
And he said, “Because YHWH your God caused it to happen to me.”
Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. And he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And he said, “I am” [ani].
Jacob, whose very name meant “deceiver”, deceived his father for his own gain. In this story only Esau and Isaac say, “Hineni”. Jacob never says it. When Isaac asked “Are you really my son Esau?”, Jacob did not respond with “Behold. Look at me. Here I am. It’s really me!”; he simply stated “I am”. He knew his blind father could not see him, but he also knew it would not be safe to call attention to himself. He was there, but he wasn’t the man Isaac thought he was, and to maintain the deception Jacob could only say, “I am”.
Responding to God’s Direct Call
Every time God called out someone’s name directly, it was to get them to fulfill a mission. It was a bold call for action, and for many humans in the Biblical, it was their brightest moment.
Ananias’ Mission: heal Paul so he could fulfill his ministry.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord” [Greek: Idou ego, Kyrie]. And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.
God called out, by name, those He needed to fulfill His plans. In the case of Ananias, his quick response changed the course of the life of Paul, who was arguably the most prolific (recorded) missionary of the first century.
Abraham’s mission: be tested, and in doing so, foreshadow the Messiah’s great sacrifice.
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am” [Hineni]. He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
And so Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac to the land of Moriah to be a sacrifice. But Isaac was a perceptive son:
Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son” [hineni beni]. And he said, “Behold [Look: hinneh], the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
These prophetic words, “God will provide for Himself the lamb” was a beautiful foreshadowing of YHWH’s plan for the Messiah. Did Abraham understand what he was saying? Was this a quick answer to silence his son’s painful questioning? We are not told, but it is worth noting that Abraham said, first, “Here I am” to God, then “Here I am, my son”. Abraham was alert to the needs around him and responded quickly in both instances. He obeyed God and at the same time tried his best to be attentive to his son. Regardless of the terrible mission he believed he was sent to do, Isaac remained an caring father, but he found it more important to be an obedient son of the Creator. His loyalty to God did not go unnoticed:
Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of YHWH called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am” [Hineni].
He [The angel of YHWH] said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold [w-hinneh], behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place YHWH Will Provide [YHWH Yir’eh], as it is said to this day, “In the mount of YHWH it will be provided.”
Jacob’s mission: travel, first back to his homeland in Canaan, and then to Egypt, setting plans in motion for the Hebrew nation to be strengthened in captivity.
Although his first use of “heneni” was used in deception (see above), when it came to responding to God, Jacob knew he couldn’t deceive YHWH. Twice Jacob stood boldly in a vision before God and said “Hineni. Look at me. Here I am”:
Genesis 31:11, 13
“Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ [Hineni]… [The angel of God said] ‘I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
The first time Jacob’s name was called once, the second time God called on him, Jacob’s name was said twice:
God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am” [Hineni]. He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.”
Jacob was essentially saying, “Look! I am here, and I’m willing to go wherever you lead me.” It’s a brave decision to pick up and go, but Jacob didn’t hesitate.
Moses’ mission: Lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt.
One of the most famous Biblical stories is Moses and the burning bush. The angel of YHWH spoke to Moses through the bush and Moses turned aside to take a peek:
Exodus 3:1-6, 9
When YHWH saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am” [Hineni].
Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God…
…[YHWH said,] “Now, behold [look: hinneh], the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses said to YHWH, “Here I am! Look at me”, but on the flip-side he was afraid to look at God, and rightfully so… It was well known that a human seeing God’s face meant instant death. His presence was far too overwhelming for human eyes. Our banishment from the Garden of Eden sealed that fate. But it would not be sealed forever. A Messiah, from the line of David, would change everything.
Samuel’s Mission: Announce the downfall of the priests of Eli’s line, allowing Samuel to become the prophet-priest needed to anoint the earliest kings of the Jews.
Samuel would be instrumental in David’s rising role as king and ancestor of the Messiah. Samuel was the son of Hannah, the barren woman who prayed for a son. God granted her request, and in thankfulness she dedicated her son to YHWH and brought him to the priest Eli, after she had weaned him.
Samuel’s life was dedicated to being in the presence of God. Perhaps, therefore, it should be of no surprise that one of the most densely packed “here I am” stories came from the mouth of a very young Samuel, before he even understood who YHWH was:
1 Samuel 3:4-16
YHWH called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am” [Hineni]. Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am [hin’ni], for you called me.” But he [Eli] said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
YHWH called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am [hin’ni], for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.”
Now Samuel did not yet know YHWH, nor had the word of YHWH yet been revealed to him. So YHWH called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am [hin’ni], for you called me.”
Then Eli discerned that YHWH was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, YHWH, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Then YHWH came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”
YHWH said to Samuel, “Behold [Look: hinneh], I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of YHWH. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am” [Hineni].
Three times God called Samuel, but Samuel didn’t get it. He didn’t yet know YHWH, and therefore he could only assume it was Eli speaking to him. But he didn’t deny the call… he was there to respond to authority immediately.
When Samuel was taught to discern the voice of God, he was ready to listen and deliver God’s message. Samuel was afraid to share the news with Eli, his teacher and father-figure, but after her said, “Hineni, here I am”, he gathered the confidence and shared the terrible fate awaiting Eli’s family.
Many humans stood up and bravely said to God, “Here I am, do with me what you need”… but this wasn’t a one sided thing. YHWH also, many times, said “Here I Am” to humanity. These may be some of the most important moments in Scripture, moments where God said, “Look at Me! I have something important to tell you.”
Here I Am: I Will Judge
There is something very serious when someone says, “Look right at me! Here I Am”. It’s a way of saying, “Focus on what I’m about to tell you.” God needed people to hear that there would be consequences to their horrible human behaviour, and their disregard for their fellow human beings. The fact that humans rejected God with an air of entitlement made God ache:
YHWH: “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ [Hineni, hineni] to a nation which did not call on My name.
I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks; who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots. Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.”
For humans to have a holier than God attitude is quite alarming and embarrassing. What an insult to the Creator. The Hebrew people had been rescued from slavery, been made into a great nation, had wealth and treasures, but they forgot the hand that fed them. They brought a curse upon themselves and YHWH had to turn against the Hebrew people for their disobedience. In sight of the all the nations that surrounded them, the very One who had saved them from Egypt had to executed judgement against them. They gave Him no choice:
Ezekiel 5:7-9 (see also Ezekiel 6:1-7)
“Therefore, thus says the Lord YHWH, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord YHWH, ‘Behold [Here I am: Hin’ni], I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again.”
Here I Am: I Will Save
Punishment was never what YHWH wanted. YHWH is the God who Saves. But the people cursed themselves and there was no learning with out discipline. However, He promised to those who called out to Him that they would be healed and restored, cleansed and forgiven:
Jeremiah 33:2-3, 6-9 (See also Jeremiah 30:18-22)
Thus says YHWH who made the earth, YHWH who formed it to establish it, YHWH is His name, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know…
Behold [Look! Here I am: Hin’ni], I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
There may have to be punishment, but YHWH would always save those who asked to be saved:
Jeremiah 46:27-28 (see also Jeremiah 30:10-11)
YHWH: “But as for you, O Jacob My servant, do not fear, nor be dismayed, O Israel! For, see,
I am going here I am [hin’ni] to save you from afar, and your descendants from the land of their captivity; and Jacob will return and be undisturbed and secure, with no one making him tremble. O Jacob My servant, do not fear,” declares YHWH, “For I am with you. For I will make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you, yet I will not make a full end of you; but I will correct you properly and by no means leave you unpunished.”
God turned His eyes away and the Hebrew people were swept away by foreign powers, but the punishment would not last forever. YHWH promised to deal with Israel’s enemies and restore to the Jewish people what they had lost:
YHWH your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
[YHWH:] “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts—they came from you, O Zion; the reproach of exile is a burden on them. Behold [Here I am: Hin’ni], I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says YHWH.
YHWH would save the people, and He would return them from their exile, back to Jerusalem:
“Thus says YHWH of hosts, ‘Behold [Here I am: Hin’ni], I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’”
Here I Am: I will send a Messiah
It’s one thing to save a people from human enemies, but how do you save them from the finality of the grave (Sheol)? That was the real problem. When Eve & Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, they cursed themselves and they had to leave the garden. They were exiled from the one place where death could not grab a hold of them. Outside of the garden, they made a covenant with death. This was terrible news for everyone, and God had to come up with a plan of Salvation… a plan to save them from the grave; a plan to bring them back to His presence.
Therefore thus says the Lord YHWH, “
Behold Here I am [Hin’ni], I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and the waters will overflow the secret place. Your covenant with death will be cancelled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand”…
God would send a Servant to remove the sins of the people:
“Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for
behold here I am [hin’ni], I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. For behold [look: hinneh], the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Here I am [hin’ni], I will engrave an inscription on it,” declares YHWH of hosts, “and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day,” declares YHWH of hosts, “every one of you will invite his neighbour to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.”
Malachi, chapter three, spoke of a Messenger who would clear the way for YHWH:
“Behold [Here I am: hin’ni], I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold [look: hinneh], He is coming,” says YHWH of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to YHWH offerings in righteousness.”
Here I Am: The Messiah Will Dwell in your Midst
In chapter two of Zechariah, there was an interesting shift in voices. At first YHWH made a declaration and then another voice said, “I will dwell in your midst… and you will know YHWH of hosts has sent Me to you.”:
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for
behold here I am [hin’ni], I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares YHWH. Many nations will join themselves to YHWH in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that YHWH of hosts has sent Me to you. YHWH will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before YHWH; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”
In John’s Gospel, Yeshua (Jesus) was the One who came, sent by YHWH, to dwell amongst humanity. (And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:14a).) He would stand amongst us and say, “Here I Am! Look! I am with you, and I will save you.”
But before He could dwell on planet earth, Yeshua would need another person to respond to God’s call, saying, “Here I Am. Do with me what You will”.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold [Look! Here I am: Idou], the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary stood up, declared her presence (“Look! Here I am”), and then bravely fulfilled her mission to be the God-chosen mother of the Messiah.
Yeshua: Here I Am
Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah became the sacrificial ram, foreshadowed by Abraham when he went to sacrifice his only, and very much loved, son. He died to pay the ransom for our terrible mistake in the Garden of Eden. After His death and resurrection, He came back to instruct His followers. He gave this pointed mission to all His disciples:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and
lo here I Am [idou], I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Yeshua said, “Look at Me. I Am Here for you… forever and ever.” And for those who were not yet disciples, Yeshua had another message:
“Behold [Here I am: Idou], I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Yeshua’s message: Here I Am. Look at Me. I’m knocking on your door. Please let me in. Sit with Me. Abide with Me, and share in my Kingdom.
Here I Am: Be a Volunteer
Seven hundred years before Yeshua dwelt amongst humanity, on earth, Isaiah’s also took on a mission. He was to become a prophetic voice on YHWH’s behalf. When Isaiah stood within the awesome vision of God’s throne room he heard a question and was quick to respond:
Then 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!” [hin’ni sh’lakheni]
God did not call Isaiah by name, Isaiah volunteered. And he volunteered without a moments hesitation. But what was he volunteering to do? Isaiah stood up to be God’s reflection on earth. According to Isaiah, here’s what would happen if you freed the oppressed, shared bread with the hungry, brought the homeless into your house, and clothed the naked:
“Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of YHWH will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and YHWH will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” [Hineni].
YHWH is a God of social justice. He called on His people to legitimately care for others! By serving our community and aiding those in need, we are reflecting God on this planet. We were called to be YHWH’s image-bearers. When we are truly reflecting God He will will be able to look at us and and see Himself in us. He will be able to say “Hineni! Here I Am. I see Myself in You”. What a beautiful and humbling thought!
It’s time for us to be like Isaiah. It’s time for us to volunteer. It’s time to call out to YHWH and say “Look at me! Here I am. I’m ready to take action. Send me!” When you call out to YHWH He will answer, and He will say, “Here I Am. I see you! You are in Me, and I Am in you”… Go! With God’s blessing!
Next week: Hear/Listen