Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
Ranked high on my list of favorite movie quotes is one from the “Blues Brothers” (1980) when Elwood says, “They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God!”
Aside from its pop-culture comedic value, the concept of a “mission from God” is real, relevant, and, for some believers, a continuous nag on the soul.
Count me among the latter and the reason why the following Scripture ranks high among my favorite Old Testament Bible passages:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8).
Known as “Isaiah’s Commission,” this familiar passage has also nagged me for decades and maybe you as well.
Those of us with growing faith (which includes virtually everyone who has faith), is instilled with a desire to “please the Lord” and “do His will.” Conversely, this omnipresent, divinely inspired calling, leaves us longing for answers to questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time:
“What is my mission from God?”
“How do I please the Lord and do His will?”
In Isaiah’s case, he received a vision from the Lord, that began his ministry from priest to prophet. His most famous prophecy is Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12that Christians believe refers to the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ, written 700 years before Christ’s birth. (Refer to Vol. 3 of this series for a discussion of that Scripture.) The Book of Isaiah is also among the Hebrew Scriptures from which Jesus quoted most frequently.
Now let’s read the first part of Isaiah Chapter 6 ending with Isaiah's “volunteering” for divine duty after hearing the Lord’s call.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:1-8).
Isaiah’s mission is to warn the Israelites about the judgment that will befall them — the consequences of rebellion against the Lord as written in the remainder of Chapter 6 verses 8 -13.
For readers who think they “know” their mission, congratulations. You are aware of how that knowledge is a tremendous blessing, as well as a curse due to the burden you carry. You also know that in the process of fulfilling your mission, the Lord tests you and your patience with setbacks and roadblocks. Expect the unexpected! But you are strong in the Lord, believe in your mission and you will persevere until your mission is accomplished because He is with you, always.
However, if you are “seeking” your mission, speak the words “Here am I send me” with all your heart, soul, and mind. Repeat it often, and then be prepared for the journey ahead when He knows you are ready. Where He leads you is not necessarily where you think you should be going or what you “deserve.” The gap between His will and what you want is called “trusting in the Lord.” Often that gap is wider than the Grand Canyon.
And then there is sin. Upon seeing the Lord, Isaiah fessed up immediately and was cleansed by an angel who touched his mouth with a hot coal. Ouch!
Is there any sin in your life that needs atoning before the Lord can “send you”?
Pray about your answer as you listen to this magnificent song, "Here I am, Lord."
The lyrics are based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3 — a similar “calling” to the Hebrew prophet Samuel when he was a young boy. The song was written by Dan Schuttein 1981 and this music video has been viewed over 23 million times. As you listen and your eyes tear up, take it as a “sign” that He is with you and open your heart to Him.
Finally, here is some advice for those seeking their mission from God, in His words:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).
And to that, all of God’s people say, “Amen!”