"Who Am I" vs. "Here Am I"
As the King of all creation, God calls us to obey Him and carry out His will. “But this is what I commanded them, saying: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’” (Jer. 7:23) Our attitude toward God is key. Moses and Isaiah provide contrasting examples in their attitude toward God.
In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses in a fiery bush that was never consumed. As Moses approached this spectacular sight, God called out to him and commanded him to take off his sandals. Drawing near to the presence of the Lord is a sober event that demands reverence. God told Moses that He had seen the affliction of His people in Egypt and He had resolved to free them from their oppression and take them to the land that He promised Abraham many generations ago. Moses would be the instrument of God’s will – he was chosen to lead the Israelites out of bondage. Moses’ response was an incredulous one: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11) Instead of focusing on God’s power and promise, he focuses on his own weakness and unwillingness. Moses continues to raise every objection and excuse that he can think of in the rest of chapter 3 and the first half of chapter 4. He was doing his best to get out of obeying God’s command, but after God finally answers every objection and reiterates the command to him numerous times, Moses agrees to obey. Moses accomplished great things as leader of the Israelites, but he had to be cajoled into obedience.
Contrast this account with what we find in Isaiah 6. Isaiah saw an awe-inspiring vision of the Lord on His throne, surrounded by seraphim giving eternal praise to His name. The scene shook at the voice of the seraph and smoke filled the house. How mighty must God be if even the voice of the seraph inspired such dread? Isaiah was overcome with his unworthiness in the presence of the Holy Lord. God’s voice called out, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah’s response was noble. “Here am I! Send me.” (Is. 6:8) Even with his trepidation, Isaiah was eager and willing to obey the voice of the Lord. God gives him his full instructions, and Isaiah’s only reply is to ask, “Lord, how long?” There were no excuses or objections, no concerns with the difficulty of the task or the harshness of the message. There was only a fervent desire to serve God.
Moses and Isaiah had a lot in common. Both realized that they were not capable of carrying out their God-given tasks alone. Moses allowed that to be an excuse and attempted to escape the responsibilities given to him. Isaiah faithfully relied on the Lord and found forgiveness for his unworthiness.
Our obedience is not contingent on our worthiness or inherent capability. We are men and women of unclean lips and unworthy hearts. Our abilities could never live up to what God deserves. When God addressed Moses’ complaints, He shows us how we can take the focus off of ourselves and put it onto Him where it belongs. “I AM WHO I AM.” “I AM has sent me to you.” “The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” (Ex. 3:14, 15) The repetition of God’s name and power drowned out Moses’ complaints. It didn’t matter that Moses was unworthy or unskilled. The power comes from God, not from man.
Your work as a Christian is done to glorify the I AM. Do not shirk from that duty and do not wait to be cajoled. Give the same enthusiastic reply of Isaiah: “Here am I! Send me.”