Summary: The concept and purpose of a divine call is not something we create, it is something God places within us. Have we responded to or rejected God’s specific call on our lives? Throughout history God has called people to Him and called people to serve Him. Let me tell you about some of them
We continue in our series Hope Found Here and this month we are considering Hope in the Call or Calling of God. The dictionary defines calling as: a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.
The concept and purpose of a divine call is not something we create, it is something God places within us. Throughout history God has called people to Him and called people to serve Him. Let me tell you about five of them.
In the book of Genesis, from chapter 6 onwards, it records how the people of that time had descended into sin and wickedness. Wickedness so profound God decided to act and decides that the world must be destroyed. So God calls Noah, tells him to build and populate the ark, and become the instrument through whom God would start the world over again.
Jump forward 6 chapters to Genesis 12 and we find the call of God to Abraham. God intended to raise up a nation of people whom He could work in and through to accomplish His purposes. God called Abram to leave a place called Ur and go. With the call came a promise from God, Genesis 12:1-3, The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Abram was called to leave his home and to travel to a place of promise. Abram responded with obedience. But, his was not a perfect obedience to God. His response to God’s call was marked and marred by poor judgment and sin. Yet God used Abram’s flawed obedience to accomplish His purposes and lay the foundations for the nation of Israel.
Then, later on, there is the call on Samuel’s life. God chose to raise up a faithful priest, and late one night, God called out to Samuel. Samuel heard and responded.
Moving forward in time, God saw there was a problem called King Saul, and God had planned the perfect solution to the problem, a young shepherd boy named David. God calls David to a specific task, to serve as the earthly king of God’s people. David responds with submission and obedience. Again, his obedience is not perfect but David serves the plan and purpose of God.
Those God calls to serve Him are often far from what we would consider perfect, their attitudes, their actions often seem to fall short of what we would expect of someone called by God. The truth is we are not perfect either and often we can use our imperfections as an excuse for us to not serve or honour God in the way he has called us. You and I will never be perfect, but God requires each of us to follow the call He has placed on our lives not resist His call on us.
The Old Testament prophet Jonah is an example of someone who resisted and opposed the call of God placed on his life. Jonah 1:1-3, The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Jonah ran away from what God called him to do. Jonah hated the people of Ninevah, he did not want them to turn to God. Jonah did not want God to have mercy on Ninevah so he ran from God and from God’s call. Jonah headed off in the opposite direction, towards Tarshish, the furthest place away from Ninevah he could travel.
You know what happens next, Jonah is on the boat, the storm comes, Jonah tells the sailors the storm is his fault, the sailors throw him overboard and Jonah is swallowed by a big fish. Three days in the fish, dark, damp, smelly, Jonah repents, gets vomited onto the beach, then goes to Ninevah to do what God called him to do. Jonah thought he could run away and resist the call of God on his life, so God uses a miracle to ensure Jonah would go to where God wanted him to be.