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Sermon 5/1/05 – Send Me!
Isaiah 6:8

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Send Me!

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!’” (Isaiah 6:8)

Do you sometimes forget to take a day off?  That’s the habit my wife, Genevieve, and I have been falling into.  During the years that we were “bi-vocational” (worked on jobs in addition to ministry), a surprising amount of necessary things that must be completed in order for the First Church On The Net to run smoothly, were just put “on hold.”  And now that we can get to them, it seems like there is never enough time to do it all!

Monday is supposed to be our day-off.  That’s what my wife said, and I agreed, but then Mondays disappeared – there was just too much to do!  And so, after an even more busy Sunday than usual, we declared “this is (was) it!”  We would take Monday off!  But there were just a few things to do in the morning, and by the time everything was done, including an appointment across town that literally could NOT be missed, we were ready to go!

By that time, it was almost 2:00 PM, and it was tempting to just reschedule for another day, but she looked at me in that certain way, and so, off we went.  It wasn’t Laguna Beach and the tide pools like we originally planned, but a closer beach would be OK and a little while later, there we were at the Bluffs in Huntington Beach.  It’s a section of beach posted for dogs and it really is a fun place to be.

We had been there before.  A few months ago, we did a wedding for a couple at the Bluffs picnic tables, a grassy area next to the sand, and it turned-out well.  I was the pastor and Genevieve, my wife, was the wedding coordinator.  That was a time of sunset, but this Monday it was full afternoon.  The waves were pretty, just like the last time, the sun was warmer now, the breeze was pleasant and the sand felt good.  But it was the dogs that caught my attention, particularly one of them.

We were some distance away, but it looked like the dog in question was what is called a “mutt,” rather than some kind of “purebred” animal.  There were “purebreds” around, but they weren’t as much fun as this one.  He was responsive to his master, who, we noticed, was throwing a ball into the water for him.  When the ball was thrown, the dog would RACE into the water and FLING himself through one wave after another, swimming as hard as he could in an attempt to get that ball!  Also, he had learned to “surf” back to shore.  He would dog-paddle to just the right position and let the waves carry him in.  He was enjoying himself, and so was his master.

There were quite a number of other dogs on the beach, and almost all of them were unleashed.  It has been my thought for a long time that if I ever have another dog, I want the relationship to be based in trust.  Just like with people.  God has set us free and we should be able to TRUST one another.

The other dogs noticed the dog that surfed, and increasingly, when that hand would go forward and the ball was flung out into the waves, they would start to run, too.  But they did not jump into the water.  A few got their feet wet, but most of them stopped even short of that.  A couple of the other dog owners saw what was occurring, liked the idea, and started throwing what looked like sticks into the waves, but only the first dog would race into the water.  One of the other owners actually walked into the water himself, trying to get his dog interested, but it did not work.  That dog just looked at him and stood, unwilling to move.

If you think about it, God has taken us off the leash.  You are not restrained.  Oh yes, we have restraints in CERTAIN ways, but not in many key areas.  He wants you to “play” with Him, to love Him in response to His great love for you, and He has important assignments for you, too.  But He is not forcing you.  You are free to love Him or not, serve Him or not, as you choose.  He is “throwing the ball,” but most don’t fully respond.

That is like what was happening in relation to Isaiah, in today’s Scripture.  Judah’s King Uzziah had recently died, and suddenly, the Lord revealed Himself to Isaiah in a vision (Isaiah 6:1).  The man saw great and amazing creatures in front of the throne of God, who called out to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).  Isaiah would have been still somewhat young at the time King Uzziah died, and he probably was upset at the loss of his earthly king.  But seeing his true King in all His glory, all else dimmed in comparison!  Isaiah was stunned by what he saw, and he cried out: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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” (Isaiah 6:5).  He was astounded by the wonder of the Lord and instantly KNEW that he was unworthy to be in God’s presence!  Just as you and I are unworthy to be in the presence of God, he was, too.

Many get stuck right there.  They KNOW they are sinners and decide they have two choices: 1) Repress and deny it even to themselves, often becoming “perfectionists” in an attempt to fool everybody, or 2) Decide it’s “too late,” lapsing into drug use and/or deviant behavior.  3) A third option was given through one of the great beings at the throne of God: “Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged” (verse 7).  Isaiah was forgiven.

But that wasn’t all.  Now he “heard the voice of the Lord,” saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (verse 8).  And not unlike that wonderful dog at the Bluffs, who LEAPT joyously into the water at the urging of his master, Isaiah replied (and I am sure he SHOUTED at that moment), “Here am I. SEND ME!

God has a plan for your life.  You may think that what has happened in your past disqualifies you from serving Him.  You may feel you’re too old, or just not up to the job.  You may be right.  And it is especially true that if you are NOT up to the job, God CAN use you.  HIS strength is what is needed.  We will be surprised in eternity, not only by who is there and who is not – but also by what service here on earth is rewarded.  God loves your prayers.  When we look to Him in prayer, it’s like He has “thrown the ball” and we “jump into the water” in response to Him.  When you pray, you are useful.  Others may not do it, but you do.  He LOVES it when you call to Him and He will answer you.

Father, I want to do ANYTHING that brings pleasure to You.  Teach me to respond, to pray, to love.  Forgive me.  And Lord, send ME!  Thank You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131

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