During our last visit to Jerusalem we went to the new “Friends of Zion” museum, among other things. In a creative, multimedia way it tells the life stories of people (among them, many Christians) who invested lives to serve Jews and Israel (e.g. Henry Dunant, the ten Boom family, Irene Sandler, Oskar Schindler). The exhibition begins with the Hebrew word “Hineni”, meaning “Here I am”. It is then explained that each of the persons portrayed in the museum answered God’s call with this “Here I am”. At the beginning of the exhibition the visitor can have himself photographed. One thinks, “a gag” and then, yes, why not? When the last film is shown one sees once again the heads of all the friends of Zion and suddenly one’s own face from the photograph in the beginning. A clever idea. Technically brilliant. Simply fantastic. But the words which remain sunk in my spirit, my heart and my soul are these three, “Here I am”. Can I and do I want to say this? We must be clear about it that this amounts to a declaration of obligation.
The Bible shows us several persons who said to God “Here I am” when he called. Thus they placed themselves wholly at God’s disposal.
° Abraham was supposed to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22:1ff).
° Jacob had to return to the land of his birth (Gen. 31:11-13) and later had to go down to Egypt (Gen. 46:2-4).
° Moses was given the great and difficult commission to lead the people of Israel (Ex. 3:4).
° Samuel had to announce judgment to Eli (1 Samuel 3:4ff).
° Isaiah was sent with a message to a rejecting, stiff-necked people (Is. 6:8ff).
° Ananias, finally, had to go to the persecutor of Christians –Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:10ff).
All these men who answered, “Here I am” then did what God asked of them. Their “Here I am” was not an empty phrase but an expression of love, fear of God and willingness to dedicate oneself.
I am convinced that today God first of all calls every person in and through Christ, “Where are you?” Many react like Adam who hid. God seeks his persons because he longs for fellowship and a relationship. But even among those who allow themselves to be found, only a few have responded to God with “Here I am”. It is not yet too late! Our Father continues to call, “Where are you?” Jesus knew even as a 12-year-old that he “had to be in his Father’s house” (Luke 2:49). If we can say the same thing Jesus did, God will no longer have to search for us. Based on his existence in the Father, Jesus knew what was important to Him and therefore did only what he saw the Father doing. This brings the deepest correspondence with his plans, his will: fulfillment, true life, joy and hope.
Based on this “Here I am”, we have been underway for the Father more than 20 years. As Peter, and with him, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we also wish to say, “I think it is right to refresh your memory” (2 Peter 1:13). This reminder is vitally important! God wants us to remember HIM and what good He has done and promised us.
That is why we have another reminder in this edition of our news – in order to awaken. Otherwise we will lose the red thread and no longer see the relationships in God’s intentions and actions. Do you remember the worldwide wake-up call through the trumpets? God wants to wake up his body. It is a matter of the 3 core elements, without which neither we personally nor we as the church will be wakened and live in the fullness. These items are constantly on God’s heart!
° Back to the first love! Learning to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his words is decisive in order to receive the constant stream of life. “One thing is necessary…really just one” (Luke 10:42). (Therefore, for over 15 years we have been offering the seminar Sitting at Jesus’ feet.)
° Back to my word! There have never been so many Bibles in so many versions as today. On the other hand, there has never been such “Christian illiteracy” in the West. We no longer read the Bible. No longer delve into it. No longer meditate on it. No interest. No hunger. This also means: no interest in Jesus, in the Father, in the Holy Spirit. No hunger=no longing. We are filled up with other things. (Therefore, for 15 years we have held Days of encounter in Aeschi/Spiez. There we encounter God by looking at his word attentively and joyfully.)
° Back to an understanding of our roots! In our time, God is awakening more and more Christians worldwide to the Hebrew-Jewish roots of their faith. He is showing what has gone wrong during the centuries. “You do not support the root, but the root supports you!” (Rom. 11:18) (Therefore, since 1998, the 24-hour prayer for Israel.) Therefore Israel days of prayer, Israel tours, seminars, conferences and the marches of life for Israel. These marches are not just a new fad of a few Israel friends, but God’s call to set out, to return. This is no doubt the point at which the church (we) has distanced itself the furthest from God’s will and plans. It is the area in which Satan has succeeded in separating us from our roots and going our own way. This is so awful! For almost 1900 years we have been wandering around without identity or orientation, like the lost son – and don’t even notice it. The Father is waiting with open arms for our return! Therefore we hold marches. Our elder brother, God’s “first-born” the Jews, also needs the Father’s mercy and must turn around. Therefore the marches. We are brothers. We are family. We are reconciled through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Eph. 2:15). It is finished! Therefore the national march through Switzerland. Therefore the international march in Jerusalem. Therefore further worldwide expansion of the marches. God’s attention lies on these 3 areas (in addition to reminding – reconciling – setting signs) in which he wants to waken his bride, sanctify her and prepare her for the wedding.
These 3 areas which need to be awakened in our personal life, as well as in the body of Christ, are basic and fundamental. All three work together and are mutually dependent. Only on this basis can we remain fruitful in what the Father will! Therefore the national march of life for Israel through Switzerland was like a spiritual switchpoint. The international march in Jerusalem was embedded in historical momentum: 70 years of Israel, and Jerusalem finally recognized as the capital city by the USA, as the first! We are truly living in breathtakingly dramatic times. And thus it should be our greatest desire, our priority, longing and joy to say to God, “Here I am”.