Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
By: Michael Anderson
How much do you know? (Answers at the end of the lesson)
It was a beautiful day in the Garden. The place Adam and Eve found themselves could not have been more perfect. There were trees that were full of the bountiful blessings of food that must have tasted as good as it looked. But, the decisions that they had made at one particular tree earlier in the day had caused a great change in Adam and his wife! They were now separated from God. Not physically separated, but spiritually separated. They had no idea how much that one action of disobeying God’s one and only command would have on themselves or upon all of us who have come after them.
As we said in our last lesson, those intelligent beings tried to gain wisdom --- from a fruit and now they were trying to cover their sin --- with leaves! Confused and unable to figure out what to do next, they heard a sound… The Lord was coming! And as He approached, He cried out and said those words He surely had never wanted to say, “Where are you” (Gen. 3:9)? The Lord obviously loved them! But it was even deeper than that. He had breathed His Spirit into them making them living souls. They were already more like God than anything or any other being in heaven or on earth yet Satan somehow convinced them that they were not. They and the Lord were one. It was obvious that they had His Spirit in them! The Breath of God is the Spirit of God! (There are many proofs of this in the Scriptures but Jesus gave us all the proof we need - see: John 20:22). But sin separated Adam and Eve from the Lord. And God's heart was ripped apart...
The Lord cries out, God cried, God was wounded and hurting and comes to Adam and Eve The Lord did not want man to sin! I’m sure He never wanted to utter those words, but He did! Why? Why bother looking for them? Why bother going to them? Because, even though Adam and Eve had been ripped away from His heart He still loved them! And, He loved us. The Lord still loves us and He still calls out to us and asks that same question as He draws all people - everyone to Himself. (See: John 12:32.) “Where are you?” It is the cry of His heart!
Of course He knew where they were physically! It looks like God may have asked the question so that Adam and Eve would realize the truth about what they had done. I think that is correct, but I have had another thought to add to that… I have not read or heard this before - it is just a thought, but it makes sense to me… Could it be that the Lord was so attached, so connected, so bonded to them in love and companionship that the instant they sinned, the Lord experienced the loss as if He was losing a part of Himself? God had breathed the Breath of Life (The Holy Spirit) into them and when they sinned , the Holy Spirit could not dwell where there was sin that was un-atoned for. He knew where they were physically and spiritually, but I think His question of “Where are you” was not only to cause them to realize what they had done but it was also a statement of the deep hurt of separation that He felt. He felt unspeakable loss because they chose death instead of life with Him! How deep the pain must have been for the Lord as He experienced the spiritual death of the only beings ever created in His own image. You may wonder how the fall of man connects to Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord? In fact, they are very connected. Let’s take a look at Isa. 6 and see?
Connection: Food for thought? Was the cross a repeat of this pain? And also: Remember, Jesus prayed and taught on being one! God’s plan has been and is to restore the oneness between Himself and those He made and loves. To do that He would have to give life to those who were dead... Through the atonement made by Christ and the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit that oneness is now being restored and is restored for those who are IN Christ Jesus! (Rom. 3:24; 6:3,11,23; 1 Cor. 1:30) . We are IN Christ because the Holy Spirit lives IN us! The Holy Spirit is the Breath of eternal life. Only this time, Jesus has already paid for all of our sins and he will not become seperated from us because of sin if we have believed in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If Romans 10:9 is true for you, you are one with Him! - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believein your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
To gain a better understanding of the heart of God and to understand that everyone is called to spread the Word of God! We are all expected to answer the question “Whom shall I send and who will go for us...” The objective is to grow every believer to the point that each of us will finally say, “Here am I, send me!”
The Lord desires for all men to hear His Word and come back to Him!
The Lord call all believers to carry out the Great Commission and make disciples.
When we have genuine encounter with the Lord our lives will prove change and others will notice.
We can see the heart of God in both of the passages referenced in the Overview. I believe that Gen. 3 will help us see the Lord and His plan of redemption more clearly in Isa. 6… I am not sure I have ever thought about how the Lord was, for the lack of a better word - feeling when Adam and Eve fell or When He said Whom shall I send in Isaiah but, I believe comparing both of these passages gives us a glimpse of exactly that. Let’s try to get into the meat of the Word… There is more to all of this than I can fully understand, but the more I study it, the clearer it is becoming. So, here is what I have so far…
In Gen. 3:9a, “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him... The phrase “said to him” - is three words in English but is only one word in Hebrew - 'amar (pronounced aw-mar'). It means “to speak or to say in one’s heart”. The Lord is speaking from His heart when He is crying out to Adam and Eve! Then, after God pronounces the judgments upon Adam, Eve and Lucifer the Scriptures say, “therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden” (Gen. 3:23). The words “sent him out” is shalach’ (pronounced shaw- lakh’) in Hebrew. The Lord spoke to them from his heart and then He sent them out from the Garden…
The connection here is that these same Hebrew words - 'amar and shalach are used in Isa. 6:8-9, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, (‘amar)... “Whom shall I send (shalach), and who will go for Us?” What does all of this mean? The Lord is crying out from HIs heart for someone - anyone, to take His word to those who are separated from Him!
“Whom shall I send (sahlach), and who will go for Us?” Isaiah is so affected by this encounter with the Lord that he replies in kind to the Lord! “Then I said, (‘amar) “‘Here am I. Send (Shalach) me!’ He said, ‘Go, and tell this people…’” God has already sent us! All of us! “Go therefore and teach all nations…” (Matt. 28:16). He is not speaking to any one individual! He is calling out to all of us.. Whom shall I send and who will go? The answer to “WHO” is “YOU”! We are already sent. The question is… will we go? Will you reply “Here am I, send me! The Lord is teaching us about missions! Not just local missions or city missions or state missions or foreign missions! He is teaching us about EVERYWHERE MISSIONS! Sharing Christ with others! God is crying out for someone willing to go to the people who need Him so desperately. The people you see everyday and talk about the weather with… but never tell them that they can be forgiven of their sins and be born again? The family that knows you go to church but have never heard you testimony? Children who believe that work or sports or things are more important to you than telling them about eternal life? Make no mistake! We are called to tell everyone about Him!
The encounter Isaiah had with the Lord change what he did. Our encounter with the Lord should have the same effect. So, let’s look a little more into what Isaiah saw, what he heard and what he did…
1. He saw the Lord! - Isa. 6:1-3
“In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory’” (Isa. 6:1-3 NASB).
Isaiah gives us a glimpse of the moment his life truly changed! He begins with a dying king and then gives us a picture of the living God. It has to be significant! He tells us the date by letting us know that this encounter happened sometime during the same year that King Uzziah died. Isaiah wants everyone to know how important this encounter with the Lord was. He gave us his own personal testimony. “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” How would you describe seeing something that was so far beyond amazing that words would never be enough? Isaiah’s words are few. He looked like… lofty - high - exalted - lifted up - above everything else in every way! He is describing the Sovereign Lord who is above all things and there are no words that suffice. Eccles. 5:2 says, “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.” Isaiah’s description is not as detailed as we would like. Isaiah’s few words here may be because of his overwhelming feelings of inadequacy before the mighty, awesome and highest LORD - the “I AM”. It’s not about what Isaiah said about the Lord! It is about what Isaiah saw when he met the Lord!
One thing is for sure! It completely changed his direction! It changed the way he saw things and the way he saw people. It changed his mission in life!
There are many more example s of life changing encounters with the Lord. How about Moses at the burning bush? Or when “Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:9-10). Or David in the Sanctuary (Ps. 63:2)? Or the woman at the well (John 4)? Her encounter resulted in her becoming a witness for Christ to her whole town! She was a missionary to her own people ! Or how about Paul who had his life changing encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9)? He then begins to spread the Word to everyone! He became a missionary to the whole world! The list of people who had this life changing encounter with the Lord is long and they all have something in common; it changed their direction! They all left that encounter changed and began telling other people about the Lord! They were all examples of the mission Jesus came to carry out! Luke 19:10, “‘For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” They all had a new mission - to spread the Word of God! Have you had a life changing encounter with the Lord? Did it change your mission?
2. He Heard HIs Voice! - Isa. 6:8
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’”
We need to understand something here! The Lord is not just having a casual conversation about sending someone to the those who were separated from Him in the Garden! He is speaking from a broken and painful heart as He longs to reach out and bring those He loves back to Himself! I believe the Lord has felt unimaginable pain because of our rebellion and willful disobedience to the One who created us! The One who desires to become one with us as He intended in the Garden! He is crying out from His heart for someone, you, to take His Word to the people! And then he says Who will go? Who will do what needs to be done? Isaiah hears Him and responds… “And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me’” (6:8 NIV)! “And I said” - ‘amar… Isaiah responds from his heart to God’s heart. The Lord is not casually asking and Isaiah is not casually responding! Isaiah is responding from the depths of his heart and submits to the Lord. Let’s say this again - he gave his heart to the Lord and Isaiah gained a new perspective! He began to see things the way God sees them. After He gained God’s perspective on the needs of the people around him and he gained a new mission in life! To spread the Word to the people who needed to hear!
3. He Accepted the Mission! - Isa. 6:8-11
“Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.’ Then I said, ‘Lord, how long?’ And He answered, ‘Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant…’”
Isaiah surrendered himself to the Lord and His mission! Something we need to understand here is that the Scriptures do not say God was speaking directly to Isaiah! It is presented as if he overhears God speaking? What is amazing to me is that only Isaiah answers? It is the same today. God commissions every believer, yet the vast majority of believers have never led anyone to Christ. What will it be like to stand in the presence of the One who gave His life for you and not have anyone else standing with you? In Rev. 4, golden crowns are being thrown to the feet of Jesus. I believe these crowns are symbols of the results of their mission - the people they have led to Christ and then discipled here on earth. I think that’s why they were given crowns! When you get to Heaven, what gifts will you have for Jesus? What will you take with you as a result of your mission while you were here on earth? There is only one thing you can take with you… People!
Oswald Chambers said, “A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front— to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament, the inspiration is put behind us, as is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him— to carry out His plans.”
Oswald Chambers was a deep thinker! He is saying that we tend to look ahead and see the needs and weigh the possibility of success or failure. But God never wants us to use that logic to decide if we should carry out our mission and tell others about Him! There is no need for debate or a need to look for motivation! We are REQUIRED to tell others about the Lord! Jesus commanded it! We are not given an option. You may not be called to the plains of Africa or the mountains of China, but you are still required to spread the Word of God! To tell the Good News! Everyone of us was given the great commission - “‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matt 28:18-20).
Oswald Chambers goes on to say, “We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).” (My Utmost For His Highest)
Application - Finding Jesus on Every Page
What does this lesson teach us about God? Man? Sin? Grace?
No one has ever seen the face of the Father (except the Lord Jesus Christ - John 1:18), The Glory of God would be too much for us! In Ex. 33:20, God declares, “‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’” No one has ever seen God in all His glory. If God were to fully reveal Himself to us in our present fallen condition, we would be destroyed. That is why God veils Himself and appears in forms and ways we can “see”. In fact, the Scriptures teach that everyone has seen God because God shows Himself to men through the heart and through nature! We are born with it! Rom. 1:18-21 (NKJV) says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Then in verse 28, we learn that seeing God or refusing to see God is a choice everyone must make. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…” (Rom. 1:28 NKJV). This verse makes it clear that it is a choice! I made that choice when I was eleven and I saw God through the change He made in me when I was born again. (See: John 3.) I have seen the Lord many times since then. I saw the the Lord in people and circumstances that go beyond what should have been as the Lord has cared for me. I have seen the Lord in my children as they gave their lives to Him! I saw the Lord as He called out to me one Sunday morning at Hopewell Baptist Church in October, 1980 as Bro. George Weaver preached, “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!’ He said, ‘Go, and tell this people…’” (Isa, 6:8-9). That morning, I made the choice to see God and I was given a mission! To spread the Word! And because I have seen the Lord, my life has changed! I have gained and am still gaining a new perspective of the way the Lord sees things!
If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior you have seen the Lord as well! You have seen Him in what He has done for you. You have seen Him in the Changes He has made in others! You can see Him in His Word as you read and study it. It you have seen God then there should be a change in your direction from before. If you have had an encounter with Almighty God then you are called to answer his question, Whom shall I send and who will go for us? All you have to do is surrender and say, Lord, here am I... Send me! Then.. Go.
God speaks through His Word to reveal Himself and His plan for redemption
God acts by calling to His children to carry out the mission
God reveals His love for us by reversing the curse of sin and death through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Answers to: How much do you know?
1) Everyone. 2) Here am I, send me. 3) Until no one is left.
GOING DEEPER - Stuff that is good to know…
Gen. 3:9a, “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “‘Where are you?’” The next word the Lord uses is translated, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9b) in English. It is three words with eleven letters in English, but in the original Hebrew it is only one word and it has only two letters. The Lord said, ‘ay (pronounced ah'ee). That little word is translated “where” but it is also translated “how” in some passages and in others it is translated “why?” The word ‘ay is only used sixteen times in the Scriptures. It is only used three times in Genesis and it is the Lord who speaks that word all three times. He uses it when speaking to Cain as He asks Cain where (or how or why) is your brother, Abel... (Gen. 4:9) And He uses it with Hagar when she is in the desert while running from Sarah. (Gen. 16:8) The Lord asks her, “where” (or how or why) did you come from...? He is asking her, “How did you get to this point?” “Do you understand where you came from and why are you here?” Everyone likes to blame Sarah for their falling out, but Hagar is not without her own responsibility!
A Little Background: As we learned in our lesson on the Book of Amos, King Uzziah was a king of Judah, during the time that Amos preached the warnings and pronouncements of judgment upon the the seven nations surrounding the Northern Kingdom of Israel including Judah. Uzziah was one of King Amaziah’s sons and was directly descended from King David (2 Chron. 26:1). Uzziah was sixteen when he became King of Judah and reigned for fifty-two years (792-740 BC). (See: 2 Kings 15-1-2.) The first twenty-four years of his reign were as co-regent with his father, Amaziah. During Uzziah’s reign, Judah prospered, and desert areas were re-claimed by a national program of water conservation. Jerusalem’s walls were reconstructed, towers were added, and he installed some new inventions on the wall that we would call crossbows. He also maintained a large army as well. The nation’s prosperity under Uzziah was a blessing of Yahweh because, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done” (2 Kings 15:3).
Amos had warned Israel and Judah about the coming invasion and judgment from the Lord ,but they would not listen. The first captives from the Northern Kingdom of Israel are carried away into captivity about 740 BC by the Assyrians (also the year King Uzziah died). However, Judah would last another 143 years and be exiled to Babylon beginning in 597 BC. Judah would have another ten kings after Uzziah and only four of those are godly kings. At the end of Uzziah’s reign, the Lord raises up a new prophet named Isaiah to preach to Judah and call them back to Himself.
Answers to: How much do you know?
1) Here am I, send me. 2) The Trinity! The Father Son and Holy Spirit! 3) Until no one is left.
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