Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...


I had no idea how to find a picture for this topic so I chose this lovely Pelican!

Hineni! While reading through Genesis, I noticed a phrase that appeared numerous times. I wondered if, in the Hebrew, it constituted a one-word answer.

My attention was first drawn to it in Genesis 22:1, in Abraham’s response to God when called to sacrifice Isaac: “Here I am.” It is a single word in Hebrew—Hineni.

You know how it is when you say “Walkies” to a dog – well, that’s how it is going to seem here! I’m going to use it a LOT of times in this post, but if you are not familiar with Hebrew don’t worry, it’s just that one word Hineni, it doesn’t mean “walkies” but “here I am!”

It is a powerful word because of what it implies. Leonard Cohen employs it at the conclusion of his song “You Want It Darker”: “If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame. You want it darker. Hineni, hineni. I’m ready, my Lord.” Cohen’s somewhat haunting song hints at what this word means; it’s more than “I’m here!” or “here I am.”

In the context of Scripture, for us, it is a response to a call or summons, and in many instances, it speaks of presence, a readiness or willingness to obey or respond to God’s command or request. It closely aligns with the response of faith upon first hearing the gospel. There’s repentance, forgiveness, renewal, justification, joy—but there’s something more, and I think the Hebrew word captures the sense of it  perfectly; Hineni. You have to watch out how you say it to God because it is a way of expressing total readiness to give oneself—it is an offer of total availability.

Abraham, Moses and Samuel

The heart-gripping ‘Hineni’ that stirs deep within leads to remarkable events. Here are four examples:

  • When God approached Abraham to ask him to offer his only son as a sacrifice, Abraham responded, “Hineni!” not knowing what God was about to ask, but it would be a shadow of the grace that would be shown in the gospel generations later.
  • With great purpose, God chose Moses and called his name. “Moses, Moses.” And Moses answered, as did Abraham and Jacob before him and Samuel after him: “Hineni, here I am.” And for Moses, you know what assignment he was given, and what happened next.
  • God called out to the young boy Samuel three times before Samuel finally responded, “Hineni! I’m listening!” The king maker-in-waiting started his ministry by not just being available, but obedient, willing, and present to God. Many hundreds of years later, when God asked who would go for Him in Isaiah 6, the prophet willingly offered himself with a cry of “Hineni! Send me!”

But what of God? Where does God use this powerful word?


Significantly, there are only two times in the Hebrew Bible that God used the word “Hineni”:

  • Isaiah 58:9: “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am (Hineni).’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,”
  • Isaiah 65:1: “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am (Hineni), here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by my name.”

By interpreting what God might mean in the two examples in Isaiah, we can begin to grasp what it might mean when we say, “Here I am!” (Hineni) to God.

In both texts in Isaiah, one can observe a stunning promise. “Hineni” is a pure, unguarded affirmation given without qualification. It signifies a spontaneous, deliberate, unequivocal commitment, promising: “I am here,” fully attentive, focused, and wholly committed, just as you have found me.

And even more, “I am here”—all of me, with all that I am and all that I can be. It is a perfect picture of unconditional grace. Come as you are—as for me, Hineni.


When we look at the life of Jesus, we see the perfect embodiment of this “Hineni” spirit. His entire journey, from His birth to His crucifixion, showcases His unwavering response to God’s call. The Incarnation itself, where God became one of us in Jesus, was God’s way of saying, “I’m here” to humanity. Jesus chose to live among us, fully embracing our human frailty and limitations to carry out God’s plan for our salvation.

Throughout the narratives about Jesus in the Bible, His actions and teachings reflect this constant “Hineni” response. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when faced with the idea of suffering and death, Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42) capturing the heart of “Hineni – Here I am” It shows Jesus completely available and obedient to God’s will, even when it was painful and difficult, but Jesus’ “Hineni” isn’t just about His willingness to suffer and die.

It’s also about His eagerness to serve, teach, heal, and forgive during His time on Earth. His interactions with those on the margins (no one was ever excluded), His guidance of His disciples, and His teachings all reveal His relentless “Here I am” attitude – always and ever ready and willing to respond to God’s call to reveal God’s kingdom.

It also highlights God’s commitment to His covenant with humanity and  reminds us of how God has always taken the first step in our salvation journey, culminating in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Jesus’ “Hineni” represents the fulfilment of God’s promises, a testament to His unwavering love and faithfulness,  inviting us to reflect on the incarnation as God’s ultimate act of solidarity with us, where Jesus fully embraced our suffering, joy, hope, and longings.


In closing, allow me to mention one or two other things by way of encouragement and challenge. Using Samuel as an example, or even Moses, when God calls them, they do not answer, “What?” or “Yes?” We don’t want to be overfamiliar with God. There is a mark of humility when we approach God. Micah knew about it, “He has shown you, O man, what the Lord requires of you,” and Isaiah’s powerful exhortation at the end of his prophecy in Isaiah 66:2 (“this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word”) leads us carefully and gently to the place of intimacy.

That place is where we meet (and keep on meeting) with Him as we walk a pathway of discipleship, learning, maturing, and becoming more and more like Him whilst even at the same time still falling occasionally to the snares of the evil one. But as we learn to discern His ways and His voice, we also learn to say “Hineni—Here I am,” meaning we are fully attentive, committed, and intent on not just hearing His voice but doing unequivocally all that He says and instructs.

I know these are hard days, and it looks like the world in its present madness is reverting back to its pre-WWI days of wars and rumours of wars, with much upheaval on every side and in every sphere, but the one thing that will not be shaken is the Church. And it’s in the church that we hear the vast roar of God’s people proclaiming, exclaiming, singing, and shouting, “Hineni—Send me!”

Contrast this with Adam in the Garden of Eden when God said, “Adam, where are you?” Adam’s response? He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam did not say “Hineni!”

Where are you?

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