A friend of mine recently posted the words to a familiar chorus by Chris Tomlin, Here I am to Worship. The words to the refrain or chorus are, “Here I am to Worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God.” The whole chorus is simple and worshipful but I couldn’t those few lines. They became my song in the night and a refrain for devotion. Especially the phrase, “Here I am.”
What am I saying to God when I say, “Here I am”? It is a statement of presentation of self to God. It is used in the Bible several times, many times from the mouths of humans in a meeting with God Himself. There are people like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, and Ananias in the New Testament. In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament it would actually be translated, “Behold, Here I am.” This interjection is an invitation for God to see who and where we are.
There are a few “Here I am” declarations that refer to different situations…..
- The Here I am of indispensability
In Genesis 22: 1, God opens the conversation telling Abraham to offer back to God his only son.
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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. Ge 22:1-2
Abraham believed that his son, Isaac, was indispensable to God’s purpose. After all, how could Abraham have offspring as numerous as the stars in the heavens without this son? This indispensability is the very thing that God wants to deal with in us. What do we hold s indispensable to being accepted by God or people? Is it a recognition of some kind? Maybe another advanced degree or title? Is it some kind of talent or special ability? Is it money or other material stuff? All of these actually get in the way of our relationship with God. They possess us rather than us possessing them.
“Here I am” is a presentation of all that I am and all that I have to God. There is an important word in Genesis 22:1, “tested.” The root of the Hebrew word indicates assaying of the what was in Abraham—a revelation of who Abraham was in the face of God. When we are saying, “Behold, here I am” to God we inviting Him to reveal who we are in our truest self. We cannot hide who we truly are in the presence of the One who made us. There are layers to be revealed and stripped away like so many layers of paint on an old piece of furniture. What are the layers to be done away with? How do we remove them to reveal who we truly are? Bring them into the presence of God. Place them on the altar.
- Here I am of redeemed disappointments
Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord 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.” Ex 3:1-4
Moses, the fugitive from justice looking after his father-in-law’s sheep confronts his past disappointments on the back side of the wilderness. Here Moses stands barefooted in the very presence of God. When God saw that Moses had turned aside from his own path to see what God was doing, God called. Moses had accumulated many layers of identity along his journey. When Moses said, “Here I am” he was presenting all of those layers, his past at the feet of the One who knew every day of Moses’ life. From the bulrushes, to the palace of Pharaoh, to the murder scene, to the wilderness, God redeemed and redirected Moses to become the deliverer of His people.
We are not the sum of our past failures and flops. Regardless of where we’ve been God calls us into His presence and purpose. We need only say, “Here I am.” We place these past disappointments at the feet of the One who all us by our truest name.
As we say, “Here I am” to the One who calls our name let us surrender all the layers that we have acquired along the way. Here I am.” Let all that we do be as an act of worship to the Lord. Let us bow before Him; make our own lives and agenda lower than His. Let every thought and action be taken from the reality of who we are in Christ not who we think the world wants us to be. We are accepted in the Beloved. We are Abba’s child. Let us live in the presence of God and say to Him, “Here I am.”