The calling of God
As we read the Bible we cannot fail to notice that God though the ages is a God who calls to people. Our God is a God who speaks; has spoken in the past and still speaks today. Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God spoke. Nine times we are reminded of the words ‘God said’. In Psalm 33:9, the Psalmist referring to creation, reminds us that, ‘He (God) spoke and it was done (literally it came to be); He commanded and it stood fast’.
The first mention of God calling to an individual, is to Adam: ‘Where are you? (Genesis 3:9). This was following Adam’s disobedience, resulting in sin entering the world. God was seeking Adam, for Adam was hiding from God. The initiative was from God.
Scripture teaches that men and women of themselves, do not seek after God, this is because the human race has a sinful nature inherited from Adam. It is always the other way round, it is God who calls, seeks and reaches out to individuals. Some do not respond to God’s calling because of persistent unbelief.
Following is a list of some in the Bible who God called specifically:
Abraham: God’s called him to leave his country (Genesis 12)
Moses: God called to him from the Burning Bush in the desert (Exodus 3)
Bezaleel - Aholiab: God called them to the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31) Note the ‘I have called’, ‘I have filled’, I have appointed’, ‘I have put’ (verses 2-6)
Joshua: God called him to lead the Israelites after the death of Moses (Joshua 1)
The Judges: God called Gideon and many others to lead His people (Judges 6 +)
Samuel: God called Samuel while a young lad (1 Samuel 3)
Isaiah: God gave this prophet a special revelation of His glory, then called him to serve. ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ was his call (Isaiah 6:8)
Jeremiah, Ezekiel: God called these two plus many other of the prophets to serve Him
In the New Testament we continue to find God calling to people. It was the Lord Jesus who called His disciples to Himself (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20). In Acts chapter 9 there is the record of the Lord Jesus calling to Saul, later Paul, when he was on the way to Damascus. Paul in his letters to the churches of Rome and Corinth mentions that he was called to be an apostle through the will of God and separated to the Gospel.
While it is good to know of God’s particular call to individuals in the past, it must be remembered that our Lord Jesus at the outset of His ministry put out a call to everyone. The call was to ‘repent and believe the Gospel’ (Mark 1:15).
This call still goes out today, to individuals, when the Gospel of Salvation is preached and proclaimed. The question I ask; have you personally repented and believed? If not, why not?
If you have repented, believed the Good News of Salvation, the call then comes to service. However weak or frail we may feel at being able to do things for the Lord, we have all been given some gift. Just as the human body has many parts to it, so the local church, as the Body of Christ, has members with a variety of gifts (1 Corinthians 12). The promise made by the Lord Jesus is that He enables, He equips and He supplies our needs (Philippians 4:9). What more can we want?
The Lord Jesus just prior to His ascension back to heaven gave a commission to His disciples: ‘Go…make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (cp. Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-16).
I am ending these thoughts with two brief personal testimonies. The first concerns my brother Peter. It was during the early days of Rev. Ivan Milsted’s pastorate, at his mid week Bible study class that Peter, who with friend John Pitcher, came in on their service. When home that evening, and pondering the call, Peter wrote in his diary “I cannot say no”. Before long he was on his way to Matlock Bible College, now Moorlands in Bournemouth. I do not know the details of John Pitcher’s call to service but he went into pastoral work. Prior to his call to glory he was pastor of a small evangelical church at Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales.
The second is regarding myself. It was again Ivan Milsted’s pastorate that I was asked by two elderly ladies if I would be willing to fill a vacancy on the diaconate. This was a very difficult decision to take, in view of the spiritual responsibilities involved before the Lord. It was while reading through the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy that words in chapter 4:11-16 spoke and challenged me to accept the call.
To conclude, is the Lord calling you to serve Him in a particular capacity? Remember we who love the Lord are not our own, we have been bought with a price, the blood of our Saviour by His death on the cross. When God calls, He equips, He enables, He guides, He directs, because we cannot do work for the Lord in our own strength. May our gracious and loving Lord Jesus continue to reveal His will and purpose to each one as we live out our lives for Him and Him alone.