Here I am Lord. Have you ever uttered those words? I can remember many times standing at the altar with tears in my eyes, declaring to the Lord, here I am. In the “old days” there was a song we used to sing,
Here I am Lord, here I am
I give all myself to you, here I am
Here I am Lord, here I am
Let your Spirit work in me, here I am
That song brings back memories, but what does it mean? I am not sure who wrote that song, but the words are straight from the Bible. These words were spoken by the prophet Isaiah. Here is what he said:
“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).
Obviously Isaiah was making a declaration and a commitment that he was available for God’s use. These words of Isaiah were written thousands of years ago, but what is the significance of Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am Lord” today? How can you apply this right now? What is clear is that this is a verse of surrender. But what I want to walk you through are the stages necessary to get to this place of surrender.
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Where in the Bible Does it Say 'Here I Am Lord'?
Before we get there let’s consider some context for what is happening. This chapter begins with Isaiah having an encounter with God in the year King Uzziah died. This however was no ordinary encounter. Isaiah was taken into the presence of God. Here are his own words:
“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” (Isaiah 6:1).
I cannot begin to imagine the range of emotions and wonder that flowed through Isaiah’s mind. To see God’s throne and to hear the angels proclaiming the holiness of God – I can only speculate on how Isaiah felt. However, his reaction is the only one that is proper. When he was confronted with God’s holiness, he quickly became aware of his own sinfulness. The presence of God has a way of pulling back the layers and revealing what is really inside of a person. Isaiah recognized this. Notice what he said:
“’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’” (Isaiah 6:5).
Once Isaiah recognizes his own condition, he is not met with judgment but with mercy and grace.
“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’” (Isaiah 6:6-7).
It is right after this moment that God poses this question to Isaiah, whom shall I send? What an amazing scene this was, but now let’s consider why this verse and his response are so important.
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What Does Here I Am Lord Mean?
As awe inspiring as this scene was, what is the significance in Isaiah saying, Here I am Lord? I want to focus your attention to three key parts of this encounter which I believe will help you make sense of this experience. Let’s figure out how Isaiah got to the point of saying “here I am Lord.”
How did Isaiah come to this place of surrender? Isaiah’s journey incorporated four stages of surrender. It is this journey that will get you to this place of “here I am Lord.”
Stage 1 - Revelation
The process begins with Isaiah getting a clear understanding or revelation of who God is. He cannot simply walk away from this experience or encounter. I mean he could, but this is something that he would never forget. All surrender to God must begin with a clear understanding of who God is.
The human heart is such that in order to surrender we must acknowledge someone or something greater than ourselves. You will never willingly submit to someone that you feel is beneath you. This revelation of God made Isaiah aware of who God really is. He got a glimpse of his majesty, of his authority, of his greatness, and these things set the stage for him to surrender. A person cannot come to Christ, give their life to Christ, or commit their way in surrender to him unless they have a revelation of who he is. This is what happened to Isaiah.
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Stage 2 – Recognition
Understanding who God is makes you aware very quickly of who you are. This didn’t just happen to Isaiah, there are plenty of examples in Scripture. In the New Testament this happened to Peter. In Luke 5 after the miraculous catch of fish, Peter had a revelation of who Jesus is. It wasn’t to the degree of Isaiah’s revelation, but it had the same effect. When confronted with the reality of who God is, you recognize who you are. Notice Peter’s words,
“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8).
That sounds a lot like Isaiah. This will happen to everyone once they come to the realization of the nature, holiness, and purity of God. It will cause you to recognize your own sinfulness. This is a good thing because it leads to the next stage on the way to surrender.
Stage 3 – Repentance or Retreat
Once the revelation and recognition happens, a person will choose one of two directions. They will either repent and plead for God’s mercy or they will retreat, not wanting God’s forgiveness or thinking that God could never forgive them. Since we are talking about the way to surrender and say “Here I am Lord,” I will focus on repentance.
To be clear, repentance means to change your mind or your direction. You are walking one way and when you repent you turn and walk in a completely different direction. When you recognize your sinful condition, you will either repent from it or retreat into it. Those who repent do so because they want to draw closer to God. They are tired of the direction they are going in and are willing to lay it down. Those who retreat are not yet ready to give up their sinful lifestyle. They may be aware of it, but they don’t want to let it go. However, when you decide to let it go then you can get to the last stage of surrender and the significance of Isaiah 6:8.
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Stage 4 – Readiness
When you have gone through this process then you are ready to answer like Isaiah did. Remember God posed the question to Isaiah which means he had a choice in how he answered it. God said “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” If Isaiah was not ready to go, he didn’t have to, however he chose to.
When you go through the first three stages, especially recognizing who God is and who you are, you count it an honor that God would desire to use you. This is the significance of Isaiah 6:8. Here I am Lord is really saying a humble thank you for God desiring to use you in spite of who you really are. This is the real beauty of surrender and the way God uses us. He simply takes broken people, with unclean lips, who are not worthy of his presence or to be used and he says I want to use you. When this revelation hits you, how could you not say like Isaiah said, “Here I am Lord”?
What Stage Are You in on Your Way to Surrender?
The same question that God asked Isaiah, is the very same question he is asking today. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” God is always looking for those who will lay down their plan and purpose and pick up his plan for their lives. It’s what he wanted from Isaiah and it is what he wants from you.
However, just like Isaiah, while God controls the question, you control the answer. The reason why God asks is because he never forces anyone to follow, he desires people to choose to follow. The only thing that remains is your answer to the question. I will tell you this, it is the “yes” that unlocks the plan of God for your life. No other answer will do that and that’s why “here I am” is so important.
Let’s take a page from Isaiah when God is calling, let the answer be yes. I will end with the words to another song I remember singing growing up. May your answer to God always be, Here I am Lord.
I’ll say yes Lord yes, to your will and to your ways.
I’ll say yes Lord yes, I will trust you and obey.
When you Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I’ll agree.
And my answer will be yes Lord yes.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.