Here I AM: Lord Yahweh

Here I AM: Lord Yahweh

Here I Am: Lord Yahweh.

“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: ‘Here I am!” (Is. 58:9)

(1.) Hineni = (Hebrew word, literal meaning, “Behold, I am!” but is generally translated in Scripture as “Here I am!

In the Bible, Hineni is a response of someone to someone else asking for attention. It could be a response to God, to an angel, a response of a child to a parent, or a servant to a master. Sometimes it is even a loving response of a parent to a child. It is in that spirit that we find this unusual situation in the Bible in which God is the one saying Hineni. The Scriptural Here I Am means you have my full attention; I am at your service; I am completely available to you; whatever you want, I am all in; I am in total readiness to listen to you; I will have no hesitation in responding to you. It’s amazing that God is saying that to sinful Israel, and to us, when we pray. In Isaiah we see this profound response of God to our pleas for His attention. In this particular Hineni we see God’s humility, His readiness to listen, His availability, His being at our service. The mighty God, at our service? To see that God is One who says Hineni to us speaks of His self-giving love for us.

(2.) Human Trumpet. At the start of Isaiah 58, the Lord is asking Isaiah to summon the people to God’s presence, to loudly rebuke the people for their sinful hypocrisy. Isaiah was to take the place of the shofar, which was used to call the people to repentance, to plead to God for mercy. Be my shofar in the flesh, the Lord says to Isaiah. Take them to task for their superficial approach to life with me! Tell them they are nothing more than rebels in my sight! Explain to them that all the prayers and fasting are falling on deaf ears in heaven. Their worship never gets off the ground. Do you really, asks the Lord, think I will honor your fast when you are at each other’s throats, bickering and fighting with each other and living in discord? Do you really think I will honor your fast when you are treating your laborers with contempt, exploiting them for profit? And yet you dare to ask questions like, “Why should we fast, if you don’t see us? Why aren’t You impressed? Why should we humble ourselves when you don’t even notice?” The reality is your fasts are not done in repentance, you only do what you want anyway, says the Lord. You are only showing off your humility for each other, and not repenting to Me!

(3.) Ignorance. The Lord Yahweh desires that the inner hearts of the people would reveal a righteousness that is fleshed out in justice and mercy. The Lord wants the people to admit their blind ignorance, their selfishness, their heartlessness. Instead, fast out of authentic humility and brokenness before the Lord. They claim to “delight” in knowing God’s ways, pride themselves in knowing all about God with their perfect doctrine, instead of living out God’s priorities. They think that correct worship is all they need to get their prayers answered. They are wrong. They may be walking around in mourning clothes while they fast, says the Lord, but I don’t accept their empty religious gestures and heartless lives.

(4.) Conditional Promise. The Lord offers a classic “if you do this, then I will do that” promise to the Israelites. If you live this kind of life, I will bless you: break the chains of injustice; get rid of exploitation in the workplace; free the oppressed; cancel debts; share food with the hungry; invite the homeless into your home; put clothes on the naked; be available to your own family; stop your slander and gossip; be generous with your resources; help those who are in trouble. That’s the kind of fast I want, says the Lord, the kind of compassionate self-sacrifice that will get noticed by Me.

(5.) Blessing. If you live your lives like that, says Yahweh, then I promise I will bless you in many wonderful ways. Your light will increase, spreading your spiritual influence everywhere; old wounds will heal; My glorious presence will guard you as you move forward, keeping you safe in righteousness; I will guide you and protect you and strengthen you; your discouragement will be replaced by joy; I will make you flourish in shalom like a lush garden, always fruitful and beautiful; I will help you rebuild your lives, building on the foundation of your spiritual heritage. And most importantly, I will hear your prayers. I will be approachable and say to you, Here I am! I will listen to you and honor your words of faith, and I will respond to the cries of your heart.

(6.) Light of the world. Jesus declared that followers of Him were lights in the world. And He followed that up by saying, “Let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14,16). Jesus ws the light of the world, He still is the light of the world, through us. And Peter says in Acts 10:38 that Jessus “went about doing good.” What good things are believers to do to remain a light in the world? A good place to start would be right here in Isaiah 58… Acts of justice and mercy; a lifestyle of fairness and compassion. And sure enough, in Isaiah 58:8, the Lord promises that if we live our lives in that way, “Your light will burst forth like the morning.” And later in 58:10 the Lord says that, by being generous and compassionate, “your light will rise in the darkness, and your gloom become like noon.” Our lives as children of the light (Eph. 5:8) will brighten as we develop lifestyles of justice and mercy and kindness. Let there be light!

(7.) Sabbath. In Is. 58:13-14, the Lord focuses on the importance of celebrating the 7th Day, the holy day of the Sabbath. He makes it clear that people have been pursuing their own interests on this sacred day. They have been dishonoring the Sabbath by conducting business as usual. The Sabbath was not a day set apart for them, it was not a day worth honoring in their lives. An interesting point made in this passage here is that those who delight in the Sabbath are more likely to delight in the Lord So, conversely, if they refuse to delight in the Sabbath, they will also have a difficult time delighting in the Lord. All through Scripture, God has viewed the Sabbath as a barometer to a people’s faith in Him. Sure enough, Bible historians note conclusively that when Israel ignores or profanes the Sabbath, there soon follows spiritual decline in the nation and the withdrawal of God’s blessing. Evidently, those who love God observe the Sabbath. And those who don’t, won’t. And woe unto those who don’t.