In Acts 22, we read of the encounter Paul has with Jesus. What an awesome moment that changed so much not only in Paul’s life, but to spark a great work of ministry that continues even today. When Paul, also known as Saul, encounters Jesus, he asks two questions. The first is who are you. His eyes are blinded. He hears someone. He asks, “Who are you?” to know who is speaking. Once he knows it is Jesus Christ, once he has this encounter with Jesus, he asks, “What shall I do?” now.
I pray you have encountered Jesus in your life, that you have had the eye opening moment just like Saul did that day Jesus met him where he was at in life, and forever changed everything. This encounter reminds me of Isaiah’s call, when he is before the Lord with unclean lips. His lips are made clean and then the Lord asks who will go, and he answers, “Here I am.” Isaiah encounters the Lord and he then is ready for action—action for the Lord.
Today, as you travel through wherever you must go, remember that you are able to encounter Jesus. He wants to reveal Himself to you in new ways. God wants a deeper relationship with you. Continue to ask the question, “Who are you?” as you go about your day. Keep your ears listening, your eyes open. As He shows Himself to you in His Word, in His Creation, in His people—then the response should be “what shall I do”? since I’ve received this revelation. Revelation always should be followed by a response.
“And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’” – Acts 28:8-10 [ESV]
When reading Exodus 3-4, we find God calling Moses. Most people can remember the burning bush. Like all of us, God created Moses for a purpose. Moses was to lead God’s chosen people out of Egypt. In 3:10, after Moses answers God with “Here I am” and hears of God’s concern for His people and their suffering, and the promise of rescue and “a land flowing with milk and honey,” God tells Moses , “So now, go.” Yet, Moses does not go. There is excuse after excuse given. Who am I? What is Your name? What if they don’t believe me? I cannot speak so well. In 4:12, again God says, “Now go” and He promises to help Moses. Still, Moses says, “Please send someone else” (v. 13).
It is interesting to see the exchange between God and Moses. When we see dozens of verses later that God is still trying to get Moses to go do what He asked, it is safe to say that we all have been in that same position. We all have a pile of excuses that we have given God. It could be something like, “Well I didn’t have enough time to read my Bible today” or “I was too tired to pray last night before bed.” Maybe it sounds something like this: “You want me to go back to school but I’m making good money at the job I have now.” Perhaps it is “I have too much on my plate now. There is no way I can serve the church.” There are likely millions of excuses I could list here. We all make them.
When Moses finally moves forward as God commanded, it is easily seen that God is with him. Everything God said is true. God is faithful. Moses gave excuses to God on being used as a vessel for God’s glory to accomplish God’s plan. We give the same excuses. But remember, it is God’s plan. He is faithful. If He has given you something to do, He has given you everything you need to get it done. His plans will not be thwarted. As you go through your day today, if you feel God leading you, don’t give an excuse. Show up for duty. When you show up for duty, you find that He already has done the hard part.
Times can get very hectic. We often try to take the 24 hours we get in a day and shove as much as we can into that time frame so it feels like we accomplished something. I know too well what happens. A few years ago I was working three jobs plus managing the household. I was tired, overwhelmed, and way off course. I think this is why in Psalm 90, Moses sees that it’s important to number our days. He recognizes the need to have priorities and to use our time wisely. That was something I couldn’t understand when I was so busy.
Sometimes when things come in the between our relationship with God, they get removed. That happened in this situation and I was able to then realize that I didn’t need to work three jobs; I could get by fine with one job if I changed a few things. This solution didn’t solve everything though, because time management is a constant battle we face. I had the same type of situation arise when I was in one of my theology classes and we had long winded discussions.
The point is that God wants to have a relationship with us. That relationship requires two parties. In Isaiah, God says that if we call out to Him, He will answer. He will say, “Here I Am.” At the same time, we need to do the same thing. The only way for us to say that is to be able to listen and spend time with God.
While working three jobs, I wasn’t able to spend much time with God in prayer and in His Word. I can tell you that you can feel the difference when you add more time with God to your schedule. As you start giving yourself more time for silent time, for prayer, for Bible reading, it ends up you want more. You have this thirst that can only be quenched by Him. You want to make more time with Him. You look for ways to spend more time with Him.
When we find more time to say “Here I Am” we get this thirst.
I think that Psalm 63:1-5 says it best (taken from the NASB translation):
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will life up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.”