Healed, then sent.
A few weeks ago, while slumbering peacefully upon my bed on an early Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit started whispering—urgently whispering—a repeated phrase long before the sun came up.
“Here I am! Send me.” Over and over.
Now, I knew that one. It’s a phrase from Isaiah 6, where God calls Isaiah to “go for us” and speak the words of God to the nation of Israel.
(Isaiah 6:8) And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Immediately, when I awoke, I knew that the Holy Spirit wanted my attention. I had been preaching a message series at Freedom Life called, “Your Harvest Is In Your Field,” and that Sunday was the final message of three. I had already planned to close the message series with Matthew 9:37-38
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
“Your Harvest Is In Your Field” was a message series about finding fulfillment (fruitfulness) in the field (area of influence) to which God has called you. The broader idea was about fulfilling your divine destiny in all of life, with a more narrow focus on fulfilling your call in the workplace, i.e. “your field.” As we repeated over and over, “Many people never find their harvest because they never find their field.”
I planned to close the series with an emphasis on the words “send out” from Matthew 9:38. The words rendered “send out” are from the Greek word, “ekballe,” which means “to be hurled out, thrust out, cast out, launched like an arrow.” Jesus commanded his disciples to “pray earnestly” that God would launch laborers into the harvest like arrows fired swiftly at the target. God plans to hit the bullseye!
Now, as I awakened, the Holy Spirit was drawing my mind to the call of Isaiah.
“Here I am! Send me.”
I closed the message that Sunday by asking everyone to pray the words of Isaiah. In order to find our harvest in our field, we must be “sent out” by the Lord of the harvest. But, in order to be “sent out” by God, we must express a deep willingness to be sent. “Here I am! Send me.” And that’s how we wrapped it up.
But, all the next week, the Holy Spirit kept working that phrase deeper and deeper into my spirit. The Lord kept drawing my mind back to how Isaiah could NOT be sent until God confronted the issues in his heart that sabotaged the young prophet’s call.
Look back at Isaiah 6. The prophet was worshipping in the temple in Jerusalem and had an amazing experience where the veil between heaven and earth thinned and became transparent. In wide-eyed astonishment, Isaiah stared past the physical structures of the temple and beheld the effulgent glory of the Lord. Isaiah saw the Lord “high and lifted up,” and his royal train filled the temple. The angels flew back and forth crying out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of armies; the whole earth is full of his glory!” The temple quaked, and the house filled with smoke.
What an incredible vision!
Isaiah was shook. No, I mean he actually shook. He was terrified. He just knew that he would die instantly for gazing upon the glory of the Lord. He screamed out,
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
What a strange reaction! Here Isaiah is experiencing the greatest moment of his life—he sees the glory of God revealed visibly!—but his immediate reaction is gut-wrenching fear.
The glory of the Lord exposed his guilt.
The holiness of God exposed his sin.
He truly thought he would die.
But God was not content to leave Isaiah wallowing in his guilt, dying in his sin. Like us, Isaiah was not built for guilt!
God sent an angel to remove Isaiah’s sin:
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
“Your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for.”
What a powerful declaration of forgiveness!
Then came the call:
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Then the reply:
Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Powerful stuff, eh?
But the point of it all—at least, in terms of what God has been saying to me—is that we must be healed before we can be sent.
Of course, healing takes time, and we can’t sit doing nothing until we are perfectly whole. Yet, the principle remains: we need inner healing so we can be sent—fired out like an arrow!—into his harvest.
Let’s look a bit closer at this over the next few days. Isaiah needed healing in relation to God, himself and others. So do we. And that’s a powerful idea that simply begs for more discussion.