When faced with a clear call to action sometimes we are tempted to say, “Please God, send someone else.” Before we consider some biblical examples, here is one from The Hobbit.
In Bilbo’s case, there was certainly cause for concern. He asks Gandalf if he can promise he will return alive, and Gandalf replies in the negative. For most of us, the cost of obedience is much less, though losing your life for the sake of the gospel is always on the altar.
The Bible contains several examples of this response to God’s leading.
Moses. God asks Moses to go back to Egypt to lead his people out of slavery. Moses’ response? “You must have me mistaken for someone else.” After many assurances and the promise of Aaron as a teammate, Moses obeys. God delivers Israel and judges Egypt in the process.
Barak. Deborah, judge and prophetess of Israel, instructs Barak to lead the Israelites to freedom from the oppression of the Canaanite king, Jabin. When Barak will only obey if Deborah goes with him, she tells him that someone else will get the glory for the victory, a woman named Jael. Jael fulfills Deborah’s prediction by driving a tent spike through the enemy general Sisera’s head (maybe not the best children’s bedtime story!), and Israel wins a great victory and peace for 40 years.
Gideon. God appears to Gideon while he is hiding and asks him to lead Israel in battle against the Midianites. Gideon responds by explaining why he has anything but the right creds for such an assignment. After the “putting out a fleece” assurance from God, Gideon obeys, and God uses him and his 300 men to completely destroy 300,000 of the enemy.
God may be asking you to do something because he knows you will be the best for the job. You will always be able to think of someone who is more capable or gifted than you, but God is not asking them. He is calling you. Maybe God is prompting you specifically because of your “weakness.” Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace will be enough for you because my power is perfected in your weakness.”
Pray that we might be more like Isaiah. When he overhears God ask, “Who will go for us? Whom shall we send?” he answers without hesitation, “Here am I. Send me.”
As you know, Bilbo decides to go in the end, and it changes his life and the course of history in Middle Earth.
If ordinary people will trust God for extraordinary things, the world will change.