Many Christian men are inspired to engage in spiritual ministry by the words of the Lord to Isaiah the prophet asking, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). The heart is touched and individuals rise up to say with Isaiah, “Here am I; send me.”
In 1981, Dan Schutte read the words of Isaiah and responded by saying,
“Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.”
Dan Schutte was wise to ask, “Is it I Lord?” “Lord, do you want to send me?” “Lord, what kind of man do you want?”
It has been wisely said that if you do not want to know the answer, do not ask the question. In Isaiah 66:2 the Divine answer is given as to the kind of man God wants in His service. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.”
There are many men who want to be useful to the Lord, but they are not poor in sprite. They have never wept over sin in their life. They are not contrite for they boldly plan to commit the most despicable sins.
There are at this very moment men who are brazenly making provisions to satisfy in secret the lust of their hearts.
There are men who are plotting to get revenge on those who have hurt them in business or insulted them to others.
There are men who are planning for a future without their wife as they justify what God hates. God hates divorce. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9).
There are men engaged in spiritual service who can sing, and preach, and teach with eloquence. They entertain the Lord in the parlor of their hearts, and praise him with their lips, but the Devil in the basement of their lives. Their hearts are far from God. The public sees an outward image of religious zeal and devotion but God looks into their hearts and sees a snake pit of vile serpents ready to strike out at anyone who dares to expose or oppose their plans.
If they asked in sincerity, “Is it I Lord,” heaven would shout back, “No, it is not YOU. To THIS MAN will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.”
If a man wants to be useful to the Lord, if a man wants to be authentic, if a man wants to be non-hypocritical then let him become poor. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
It is not easy to be poor in spirit, because the natural inclination of the heart is to make self-appear better, brighter, and more successful than one really is. What man does before others he does before God. The natural man often comes to God and says, “Lord, I thank you I am not as other men. I am a church member. I have been baptized. I give money to the church. I am a good person. I have a rich spiritual background to show you. I will now perform for you and your people.”
It is not easy to be contrite in spirit because self is always right, and the other person is always wrong, point by point. A person might concede in theory they are not always right, but when a specific point is mentioned, the heart feels no regret for what has been done, or is about to be done in name of wanting peace and happiness. The non-contrite person will say, “I have done no wrong. The other person has done wrong to me. I am the good person. I am the innocent party”
It is not easy to tremble at the Word of God. Many a person can open the Bible, read from the Bible, preach from the Bible, sing the songs of the saints based on the Bible, and then go out and engage in the most vile and despicable behavior for selfish purposes. Such a cold heart cannot tremble at God’s Word. Only a heart of flesh, only a new heart can be touched by the commandments of Christ, and tremble when they are violated before a holy God.
If a man wants to be the kind of man God will look to, then do three things. First, renew your commitment to obey the Word of God in every area of your life, your relationships, your thoughts, your private life. Second, pray for the gift of repentance, the ability to change your mind, and turn your life around. Seek to be humble, of a quiet spirit, and sorrow for the ugly words you have said to someone else. Third, ask the Holy Spirit for brokenness. Many will weep over their situation in life, but they do not weep over their sin. They weep because they are unhappy, or made a bad decision, or cannot find a way to get rid of their troubles, usually meaning someone else, but they never weep over their own behavior before God.
“Is it I Lord, that you will look to?” It might very well be.
If I Were the Man I Would Like to Be…
I would have the mind of the apostle Paul, who was able to understand all the great mysteries of God.
I would have the ears of Noah, who heard the voice of God telling him to build an ark, and did so by faith.
I would have the eyes of Peter, who was able to weep over his sins, and yet see Jesus as the Son of the Living God.
I would have the mouth of Stephen, who was able to preach with power, after being filled with the Holy Spirit.
I would have the shoulders of Moses, who was able to bear the responsibility of leading over a million people to the Land of Promise.
I would have the arms of Samson, to have physical strength to do the work of the ministry.
I would have the heart of David, who was fearless when all others cowered before a Philistine, who was outside the covenant of grace.
I would have the loins of mercy of Hosea, who loved without measure, and pleaded with others to follow the Lord God.
I would have the knees of the apostle John. He was so well known for his life of prayer that the early Christians called him, “Camel Knees.”
I would have the thighs of Jacob, who was touched one night by the Angel of Jehovah, that he might learn to lean on Jesus for the rest of his life.
I would have the legs of Joshua, who stood up in old age and said, “Give me this mountain for my inheritance,” and then he went forth to conquer his enemies.
I would have the feet of Philip, who went forth preaching the gospel, as the Spirit directed him.
For character, I would possess the faith of Abraham, who believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
I would have the courage of Gideon, who despite his fears, went forth to battle.
I would have the vision of Ezekiel, who witnessed afresh great, and marvelous, things.
But most of all, I would have the burden of Andrew, who longed for souls to come to the Savior.
I would have the grace of young Samuel, who submitted himself to the God of the Universe, and said, “Speak Lord, thy servant heareth.”
I would exercise the authority of Titus, who was able to go to a local assembly, and set in order the things that were lacking.
I would have the intense spirit of Jeremiah, who had fire in his bones. He could not keep silent.
I would have the patience of Job, to deal with the adversities of life.
I would possess the wisdom of Solomon, to know how to counsel others.
For clothing, I would wear the prophetic mantel of Elijah, the humble desert sandals of John the Baptist, and the robes of Joseph showing the favor he had with the Father.
For food, I would eat the manna given from heaven, even the Bread of Life.
I would desire the sincere milk of the Word of God, like a newborn baby desires the milk of its mother.
I would drink of the cup of Living Water.
But most of all, I would be like Christ who loved me, and came to give His life for me.
Stanford E. Murrell