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The Nature of Our Call

June 10th, 2014

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

Genesis 17:1-2

In Chapter 17 of Genesis, for the third time, God affirms the covenant between Himself and Abram. Each of these callings and re-affirmations give insight into our relationship with God. God has promised to make Abram a great nation, even though he was childless and an old man, but God in His plans for us does not look at what physical or worldly assets we may have. He created it all and knows what He is able to do, so He calls first and then enables those He calls to fulfill their role in His economy of grace. Consecrated physical and material goods may be of some use to God, but even then He cannot use us until we are crucified with Christ, until the old self is dead and all our worldly and material assets are seen for what they are, meaningless dust before Him who made all by His spoken word.

In every life there seems to be a trait of impossibility to the calling of God. We can trace all of the great heroes of faith in the Bible and we find them each to be the most unlikely candidates to be used by God – Joseph who was an imprisoned slave, Moses who could not speak well, Gideon who was the least, Hannah who was childless, David who was the youngest, Jeremiah who was but a youth, Peter who was sinful, Paul who persecuted the Church, and others. He makes His own heroes of faith by His own power, and almost to a person, we see their moral weaknesses also, that whenever they trusted in their own power more than in God, they failed. Solomon wrote it but the truth reverberates through every page of the Bible, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Prov 3:5-6). Weakness in the eyes of the world means nothing, so long as we trust in God.

But the nature of the call of God is first to be His person, His man and His woman. Before God told Abram how He would bless his offspring, He called him to Himself, “Walk before me and be blameless.” When God calls us to serve Him, the first aspect of that call is always to know Him and to live holy lives before Him. When God sets us apart for service, to play a significant role for Him and for His Kingdom, the first requirement is for us to draw near to Him. If God will bless a church with an unusual opportunity to bear witness to His grace, then first He calls that church family to a deep relationship with Him and to holiness in their lives. If God calls a married couple to a special role for Him, then, likewise, the first obligation of the calling is for them to know God, and to follow Him in their lives.

We cannot but be struck with the determined patience of God. It is now thirteen years after Ishmael had been born. The foolishness and sinfulness of this called couple did not disqualify them from being used of God. God’s purposes must prevail in our lives, and now in the weakness of their old age God is going to perform a miracle. A child will come to them, and not just to them but to the whole world for we are learning of the genealogy of the Messiah in this passage. No wonder Paul wrote with such authority, “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29).

Tomorrow we will examine the meaning of the rite of circumcision, but today there is sufficient thought found in these words, “Walk before me and be blameless.” This is our first duty before God. Before we launch out to fulfill the purpose that He has for us, we must bow before Him in worship, draw close to His heart in communion, and seek to live before Him in holiness. Our spiritual gifts and the roles we play for Him can never substitute for relationship and holiness. However you serve the Lord, and whatever obligations are attached to your service, above all of those matters put knowing Him and living for Him as the matters of first importance! That is the true nature of our calling – to know Him and to live for Him.

Gleanings from Genesis , , ,