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Here I am
The Details

Posted June 28, 2017
Posted By Lisa Chan

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Genesis 22:1

It may well be for me the most impactful Hebrew word in all the Old Testament. Although only used eight times in the Old Testament, when it was used, the people who used it (Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah) were never the same.

The word is translated simply as “Here I am” in our English Bibles and it is used twice in the portion of the Bible we will be looking at this coming Sunday.

There are two ways to say “I’m here” in Hebrew. The first is poh. This would be used as a response to a roll call, or just a general “I’m here at the store.” The second way to say that I’m here is hineni. This word has a more complex, deeper meaning. When you say hineni, it means you are completely in a place, and that you are available to the one calling without condition. It’s the response of unconditional “YES.”

Two weeks ago, Bella and I were at a Daddy/Daughter conference at JH Ranch. The H in the JH Ranch name stands for hospitality. They value extravagant guest service and it showed. At their information desk was a sign that read, “THE ANSWER IS YES … NOW WHAT CAN WE DO FOR YOU?” That captures the essence of hineni.

Sometimes, I’ve been accused by certain family members who ask me for help of being present but not fully engaged … my mind is elsewhere and it shows. (Hard to believe, I know!) I’m there — but I’m not there. Sometimes we can do that with God.

In this week’s message, we will look at a very familiar and heart-wrenching story, the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-14.

Prior to coming this weekend, would you take the time to read the passage? Note that not once, but twice Abraham responds to God’s call with a response of unconditional “yes!” Then ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal areas in your life where you put conditions on your obedience.

For most of us, the limits of our obedience center around our convenience. I will never forget a poem I read some 25 years ago that God has used time and time again in my life. It’s called $3 Worth of God by Wilbur Reese:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,

but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk

or a snooze in the sunshine.

I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man

or pick beets with a migrant.

I want ecstasy, not transformation.

I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.

I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

Taking limits off our obedience isn’t easy, it’s impossible. And it’s required for us to be the men and women God has called us to be. Take some time and dwell on this, and come Sunday ready to learn, ready to commune with other followers of Jesus, and eager to serve.

 

I look forward to being with you.

I love being your pastor!

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