Philippians 3:12-14, Acts 9:15-16 – When Paul was called it was with a bright light and a loud voice. That isn’t usually how it works for us today. Clearly God’s call of Paul was away from his old life to a new and very different one.
Ephesians 4:1 – God’s call to us today is the same for us. Away from this world and sin, towards something very different. As we heed the call of Jesus our lives will be more difficult, but we will find more fulfillment.
Let’s look at three different calls and responses of God in scripture.
The “I’m Not Interested” Response
Exodus 3 – Moses at the burning bush. Moses asks God to identify Himself. God revealed Himself and His name to Moses. Moses was afraid, afraid of the people. He was afraid too of the power of God’s message and the weakness of Moses himself.
Exodus 4 – In his fear Moses has some excuses. Moses is being at least somewhat honest here. He doesn’t think he’s able to say and do the things that God is asking him to.
God answers and says that He made mans tongue and He will speak through him. God eventually says that He will send Aaron with him.
Moses doesn’t want any part of God’s call on his future. He thinks God has the wrong number. He tells God to “call someone else.”
Some of us get to this point too. We argue with ourselves about what our capability is, or what someone else’s capability is.
The “You’ve Got the Wrong Number” Response
Jeremiah 1:4-10 – Jeremiah feels very realistic to us. He expresses uncertainty with regards to his abilities. He expresses a general fear of the call God is giving him.
God knew Jeremiah, He planned for him from his birth. Jeremiah was the perfect person for this part. He was to bear a message to a people who didn’t want to hear the message.
God will make sure the person He calls is able to do the thing He is calling them to.
God’s call to us is often to reach around us. The call might not be for us specifically, but instead for the people around us… through us.
There is a tendency for us to think that God has the wrong number when He calls us. God doesn’t make a mistake, He doesn’t call wrong numbers. He knows us, He knows our weaknesses, He knows our abilities.
The “Is This Even My Phone?” Response
Esther 4 – This is the heart of the book of Esther. Her people were set to be massacred, and Mordecai tells her that even though she is the queen she is in danger. He also says that “perhaps God has made you queen for such a time as this.”
Esther asked her people to pray, and she went into the King.
Often we find ourselves in as situation we didn’t ask to be in. We didn’t choose to be here. We are in a specific time and place and situation. We see before ourselves a difficult task and we wonder whether we have any special abilities at all.
We often question ourselves, and whether we are up to the task, and whether there is really a purpose behind our being here.
This is where we are this morning. We are facing a situation where there are a lot of people who are afraid. Let us ask ourselves, “why did God put me here, and what does God want me to do?”
Some Observations About all of These Things
Ephesians 4:1 – God wants us to serve Him with our lives. God always calls us from something to something else. From a life of sin to a life of holiness.
We are servants of Christ. We bear his name and we should never do anything that would bring dishonor to the name of Jesus.
God’s call is often unexpected, and maybe unwanted. We may feel that God has made a mistake, that our abilities don’t line up with His calling.
1 Corinthians 1 – Gideon had a big army and God helped him shrink his army, and then asked him to go into battle with trumpets and clay pots. The point of God’s call is to bring glory to Himself. If the end result of God’s call is that we receive some glory, or feel proud of ourselves… we’ve missed the point. The glory belongs to God.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 – We all receive a call from God. Our callings our different, our callings are important. Our goal isn’t to say that people called to the ministry are the only ones who have a call from God.
John 21:19 – God’s call is general. Everyone is called to follow Jesus. We follow Jesus even when we don’t know where exactly that’ll lead. Following Jesus is both simple and hard, it means giving up everything to walk in His footsteps.
Matthew 28 – The great commission is for all Christians, not for just some people. Go calls us to put on all the fruits of the Spirit, not just the ones that fit us best.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 – God’s call is also specific. He has called us to a specific location, with specific friends, with specific neighbors, etc. He has prepared us, how do we use those things to bless those around us? Our “job” is to do the things set before us to the very best of our ability.
God has a place for me. God has a place for you.