You ever got a phone call or letter congratulating you on some awesome vacation that you have won? They usually go something like this: “Congratulations, you have won a 3-day getaway to beautiful Branson, Missouri”, or maybe it's a free stay on South Padre Island, but whatever it is, we understand that there is a catch somewhere. We may have to hear a hard sell sales pitch, or perhaps pay a small fee to lock in our "free vacation", but we know that there is always a catch. We know that the free trip will not be all that great so when asked to close the deal we usually refuse to go when asked.
God has sent people to one place or another, and sometimes their journeys weren’t easy, but God always went with them on their journeys.
Moses was asked to take a trip by God in Exodus to get his people out of Eygpt to the promised land..
Moses objected, "They won't trust me. They won't listen to a word I say. They're going to say, 'God? Appear to him? Hardly!'"
So God said, "What's that in your hand?" "A staff."
"Throw it on the ground." He threw it. It became a snake; Moses jumped back—fast!
God said to Moses, "Reach out and grab it by the tail." He reached out and grabbed it—and he was holding his staff again. "That's so they will trust that God appeared to you, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
God then said, "Put your hand inside your shirt." He slipped his hand under his shirt, then took it out. His hand had turned leprous, like snow.
He said, "Put your hand back under your shirt." He did it, then took it back out—as healthy as before.
"So if they don't trust you and aren't convinced by the first sign, the second sign should do it. But if it doesn't, if even after these two signs they don't trust you and listen to your message, take some water out of the Nile and pour it out on the dry land; the Nile water that you pour out will turn to blood when it hits the ground."
Moses raised another objection to God: "Master, please, I don't talk well. I've never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer."
God said, "And who do you think made the your mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn't it I, God? So, get going. I'll be right there with you—with your mouth! I'll be right there to teach you what to say."
Moses said, "Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!"
God got angry with Moses: "Don't you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He's good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he's on his way to meet you. When he sees you he's going to be glad. You'll speak to him and tell him what to say. I'll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He'll act as your mouth, but you'll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you'll use it to do the signs."
Moses had every reason to go where God sent him, and every excuse why he didn’t want to go. In Exodus chapter 13, we read about Moses out tending his father-in-law’s sheep when he saw the burning bush. When God called to him and said, “Moses! Moses!” he replied, “Here I am”.
God then explains that He has seen the misery of the Israelites in Egypt and plans to free them. He tells Moses that He is sending him to Pharaoh to lead the people out. Moses then replies, “Who am I…”
God then reassures Moses by telling him, “I will be with you.” He even explains to Moses that the elders will listen to him, that God will use his mighty hand against the Egyptians, and that the Israelites will plunder the Egyptians on their way out.
God tells Moses that He would work miraculous signs to show that Moses was indeed from God. Even after all of this, from the burning bush to the miraculous signs and God’s reassurance, Moses says, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
Now look at God’s reaction.
Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses.
Even though Moses did go on to serve God, what we see here is a bad example. Moses was face-to face with God and said, “Not me, Lord. Send someone else.” And when he did, God’s anger burned against him.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jonah 1:1-3
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
Have you ever deliberately run from God? Maybe there is someone here this morning running from God right now!
There is a really big problem, you cannot run from God until you have first heard from God! You know if you’re running from the Lord, and the Lord knows you know!
If we see the problem here, then I believe we all agree, we must find our way back into the will of the Lord.
Jonah’s name is connected with the word “Dove”, which signifies a messenger. His father’s name was Amittai, which means “My Truth”. Put the two together and we find that Jonah, by name, was to be a messenger of the Truth!
One of the greatest issues in the world today is not sin or sickness or disease or even politics. One of the greatest issues of our time revolves around “Christians” not living up to their name.
(Sermon In A Sentence): While the benefits, of the “Greatest Story Ever Told” belongs exclusively to Christians, we must not keep them to ourselves! We, like Jonah, must deliver the message of Truth and Repentance from our Heavenly Father.
The Message Received
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai.
Wouldn’t you think this would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to you or anyone else? Being asked by the Lord to go on an awesome mission involving the possibility of an entire heathen city repenting of their sins.
Oh, sure there could be some problems, like being physically beaten. Possibly run out of town. Certainly made fun of. Oh, and by the way, should you become the least bit successful in your ministry effort, in a place like this you would unquestionably be executed.
But, so what! The creator of the heavens and the earth had dialed Jonah’s number and he answered the phone!
God the Father loves to communicate with His children. He enjoyed walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. And He loves nothing more than when you call on Him or He calls on you and you pick up (answer the phone).
Each time you wake up and say Good morning Lord! He is there to welcome you into a new day. Even if you wake up and say Good Lord, its morning! He is there to say and I will help you through this!
Each time you pick up your Bible, whether to study intensely or just read for the pleasure of it, He is there to give you insight beyond your years. He will help you discover nuggets of gold in “them there” Scriptures that will bring understanding into your most complicated situations.
Each time you beat back the demons of hell that try everything possible to keep you from coming to church, if you allow Him God will take you to a deeper, richer level in your relationship to Himself and others.
Each time you make the conscience decision to truly enter into praise and worship, the Lord will welcome you into the Holy of Holies. Where healing is common, relationships are restored, and new boldness and strength is supplied to weary believers.
Each day brings with it the opportunity to learn something new!
Isaiah chapter 6. Verses 1-8 .
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
"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."
Then one of the seraphs 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."
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!"
What a difference in his answer and Moses’ answer!
I don’t know if Isaiah is describing actual events that happened for him in the flesh or if he is describing a vision that God had given him. We could argue either way, but regardless of whether the experience was in the flesh or in a vision, the experience was real. I want you to try to imagine that scene with me for a moment. Close your eyes and listen to the description that Isaiah gives of these events.
He starts with what he saw. Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. We may all have different pictures of God on His throne, but what majesty there is! How powerful God is! How fitting that He should be high and exalted!
Above him were seraphs, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
Isaiah is the only author in the Bible to use the word seraph or seraphim. The original Hebrew word refers to burning. Isaiah even says that as the seraphs were calling to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty” the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.
It would be amazing to be in the presence of only these seraphs, but Isaiah was in the presence of God Himself.
When Isaiah was struck with the realization of where he was and whose presence he was in, he was overcome with fear and woe! He said, “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 knew that even though he was God’s prophet, he was unclean.
Isaiah had been commissioned by God to speak for him to Judah. Israel and Judah were split at this point, and neither was truly faithful to God. Isaiah had the best job in the world and the worst job. He got to be God’s messenger, and what a privilege it is to speak God’s words. But often, Isaiah was required to speak unpopular messages to the people because they weren’t right with God. When Isaiah said that he was a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, he was referring to living among God’s chosen people. Isaiah knew that they were unfaithful and deserving of judgment.
But just like Moses, Isaiah was reassured. Moses had God’s explanations and miraculous signs. Isaiah had the seraph who purified him to make him acceptable in God’s presence.
In my eyes, the greatest difference in Moses and Isaiah comes in their replies to God. When God sent Moses, Moses said, “O please Lord, send someone else...”, but when God asked, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah replied, “Here am I. Send me!”
Turn with me now to John chapter 3. We will read verses 16-18, some of the most read verses in the Bible.
John 3:16-18 (The Message) The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson 16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
God sent Moses and he argued. Isaiah volunteered and said, “Here am I. Send me!” God sent Jesus, and Jesus obeyed in love. He loved the Father, and he loved you and me, so He obeyed.
We have so far looked all the way back to Moses, then forward to Isaiah and Jesus, and here we will read what is commonly known as the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16-20 (The Message)
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
When we talk about the Great Commission, I know that the word “commission” has as much to do with commitment as anything else, but in this situation, I like to think of the word as “Co-Mission”. This is a mission that we share. We share it with like-minded Christians who say, “Here am I. Send me!” And we share the mission with God. God has sent us, and just like Moses, Isaiah, and even Jesus in the flesh, we can count on God’s help in the mission.
God may be saying today, “Whom shall I send to speak to the prisoners?” Stacy said, “Here am I. Send Me!” But God may want more of us to go. God may be saying, “Whom shall I send to prepare and teach lessons for vacation bible school?” Several of you have already said, “Here am I. Send me!” But God may want more of us to join in. And God may have more places to send you. After God sent Moses to Egypt, He sent him to the desert and then within sight of the Promised Land. God may be saying,
• “Whom shall I send to speak to the kids at the Junior High?”
• “Whom shall I send to speak to the couple in that struggling marriage?”
• “Whom shall I send to encourage the single mother?”
• “Whom shall I send to hold the hand of the dying?”
• “Whom shall I send to befriend the lonely?”
• “Whom shall I send to talk to the teachers?”
• “Whom shall I send to talk to the doctors?”
I want you to open your mind for a moment. God is sending you somewhere. It may not be to a foreign land or to an erring nation. He may not be sending you to save the whole world with your blood, but He is sending you with a Co-Mission. You know at least one person who is not right with God. Who is it? Write down their names. Do it now. I will wait. Now, pray over them. Whom shall God send?
Understand that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He will help us as he sends us. We know that God went with Moses on his mission. He went with Isaiah as he spoke to Judah. He was in Jesus as He came to save the world. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
God is still asking you, “Whom shall I send?” What is your answer?