Gen. 22:11 “Abraham, Abraham (God called)! ‘Here I am’, he answered.”
I knew a retired banker who started a Christian ministry giving financial advice to businessmen: He called it Hineni. It was quite successful and after a while I got round to asking him what Hineni meant. I was surprised to find it was a Hebrew expression meaning “here I am”. ‘What an unusual name for a ministry’, was my response.
When I hear that expression “Here I am” I think first of someone calling out to identify their location to someone who is searching for them. I would play hide and seek with my children when they were little and they would often get tired of hiding and me calling, “where are you”? They would shout “I’m here” to help me find them. My mind jumps to God calling to Adam and Eve in the garden “Where are you?” after they sinned and were hiding. In their case, they were hiding from Him out of shame for having disobeyed Him. Now when someone is trying to stay hidden it isn’t smart to call out “here I am” (and anyway God who knows everything would hardly be unaware of their location).
Another time that someone has their name called out is when they are in big trouble. I suspect that’s what Adam and Eve feared when they heard God calling their names.
Then I discovered that it wasn’t only Abraham but Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Ananias… the list goes on… all had encounters with God where God called their name and typically they responded “here I am”. So what is going on with all these hinenis? Did God keep losing track of His saints? Were they all hiding from Him because they were in trouble? There must be some common explanation.
When I was in primary school, every child in Britain was given 1/3 pint bottle of milk each day – it was a government requirement. Each morning the teacher would ask which 2 students would like to go on behalf of our class to fetch our milk quota. If chosen it meant that you got to leave class, go and find your coat, then go outside to the gates and load up enough bottles for the number in class that day, take them back to class and then go and take your coat off again. If I was chosen and didn’t rush I could spin out the whole operation to about 20 minutes without getting into trouble. My hand was always the first in the air. I loved getting chosen. My raised hand was shouting hineni or ‘here I am, please send me’ – which is exactly how Isaiah responded when God asked ‘Who will go for us?’ (See Isaiah 6:8.). God is looking for volunteers.
God loves a willing heart. He loves it when His servants are attentive to His voice and are quick to volunteer for an assignment. But, there is something God loves even more than a willing volunteer.
In Matthew 21:28-31 Jesus tells a story about “A man who had two sons”. This man had work needing to be done in his vineyard. One son was quick to volunteer, but he never got round to doing anything. His sibling made excuses that he was too busy, but eventually he went and helped with the work load. Jesus asked “which son did his Father’s will?” It wasn’t the one who said he was willing to help but the one who actually went and did the work.
Are you more than willing to help? Hineni, “here I am” is saying “Father, use me; I will go wherever You want and do whatever You need done.” But then go and do it.
Paul Ogle PS. This will be my last blog as my wife and I hear God calling us back to the U.S., and we must go.
'Hineni' means here I am...
God loves a willing heart. He loves it when His servants are attentive to His voice and are quick to volunteer for an assignment.
Paul and Angelita Ogle have been part of The Belfrey for two years and are now returning to the USA.