THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CALL OF GOD

CALL OF GOD

The call of God is inevitable, once you are called by God nothing can prevent you from doing that divine mandate. Take Job as an example,  he was trying to run away from God but all his attempts to do so were abortive. The call of God is divine, pure, and unavoidable. Now,  “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” [ 2 KINGS 2:9]. Men become prophets not at their own whim but by the sovereign calling of God. If God does not call the man, he cannot carry God’s message. Perhaps the man was a little rigid in this area, but he carried a right point. If God has called someone to ministry, nothing can keep that person from that ministry.
Our problem today is that ministry has simply become a vocational choice. This has brought untold misery to the church. Ministry is not a vocational choice; it is a sovereign call of God upon a man’s life. Nobody has any right to make a judgment in this area. It is always wrong for us to judge values by size, but we constantly attempt to do that.
In the Western world, where they have the biggest things and the richest and the largest and the longest and the widest. They  have sizes, all right, but still it is wrong to judge values by size. A man can back up five tons of coal to your house, if you still use coal, and spend the day putting it in the coal bin. Yet, your wife wears on her finger something far more valuable than all the coal it took two men all day to put into your coal bin. Size and weight do not mean value.
Take the nation of Israel. Israel’s importance did not lie in what she was as a people. It lay in what God had made her through His covenants. God takes that which is nothing and makes it something. People who always know where they are going are not following the Lord, because He cannot be predicted quite so perfectly as that. Israel thought they were something; but apart from God, they were nothing.
For years, Elijah had been the prophet to Israel. Although he was not much in himself, he held the most important position in his relationship to God and Israel. Elijah is about to finish his work. When God calls a prophet home, or to any kind of work, He calls him in His way. It is our business to say goodbye to the past and face the future, knowing that we have been promoted.
  • God Identifies the Replacement
God never takes away an Elijah without raising up an Elisha to fill his shoes. The work of God will never stop; you can be sure of that. God’s servants go to their eternal reward, but the work of God continues. God was going to continue to bless Israel, even when Elijah was gone. The Lord would raise up another man, by the name of Elisha, to carry on that work.
Let me point out that some of God’s present leaders are in the process of going. Some are within the last few years, and the temptation is to say, “If the Lord takes away His giants, what are we going to do?” God never takes away any Elijah without raising up an Elisha to fill his shoes. He never takes away a Moses without then raising up a Joshua. He never takes away a St. Paul without raising up a St. Augustine, or someone else, to take his place. When Elijah was about to go, God was laying his hand on somebody else.
God is putting His hand on somebody right now who is going to occupy the place of someone you look up to and think is so great—that mighty preacher, that mighty man of God. One of these days, God is going to take the breath out of his nostrils and he will be a lump of clay. That is all he ever was in the first place. All that he is, the good God gave him. When we look at all these mighty men God is going to take home, we know He is looking around for others to take their places. The people who are taking their places may not look that important to us by comparisonGod Makes Nothing into Something So, who is the Lord looking for? Some mighty giant who could walk out there like Hercules? No. When God bestows honor, He seldom turns to the mighty.
Very rarely does God turn to the mighty when He wants to bestow honor. The apostle Paul pointed this out when he wrote, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
God does not choose the obvious, but the one through whom He will get the most glory. The Scriptures, as well as church history, are full of this sort of thing. Gideon was hiding away, threshing a little bit of grain in a cave, afraid of the Midianites, when God came to him and said, “Thou mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12). Surely, God must have smiled when He said those words to a man hiding away from the Midianites. Gideon did not believe it, of course. He would know a mighty man of valor when he saw one; and yet when God calls you, you are that. It is part of faith not to argue with God when He calls you out like He did Gideon.Then there was David, the least likely of all his brothers. The prophet Samuel tried to anoint every other brother, but the Holy Spirit said, “That’s not my man.”

Not that alone, when they all stood around shrugging their shoulders and saying there has been a mistake somewhere, somebody remembered the youngest son, David. No possibility that it could be David; but when he came in, Samuel recognized right away that this was God’s choice (see 1 Sam. 16).God takes that which is nothing and makes something out of it.Look at Peter the fishermen. Who would have picked Peter to be one of the apostles of Jesus? If there had been a vote somewhere, he would have been voted the least likely to be an apostle.
God looked at him and said, “Peter, I have a job for you to do.” He picked Peter and made him the great man that Scripture tells us about today. When God takes a great man, He humbles him; and when He picks an unimportant man, He raises him. That is the way God does things.The message always is more important than the messenger. The messengermust be worthy of the message, but the message continues after the messenger has gone.
  • The Honor of God’s Call
An important consideration in this regard is that the call of God always bestows honor. God never calls anyone down. He may call them down from their dizzy heights, as He called Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree, because he should have never been up there in the first place. He may call them down, but He never calls a man to come beneath himself. He never calls anyone to move away from heights. He always calls us up higher. When you move toward God, you are moving up; when you move away from God, you are moving down. God always calls us upward.
When God calls you to some kind of humble service—it may be working in a rescue mission—He has promoted you. God called this man Elisha. When we meet Elisha, he is out plowing. It was not particularly a high status job, but it must have been quite a farm, for he had 12 yoke of oxen. From a human standpoint, there was nothing to recommend that Elisha follow in the footsteps of Elijah, that great prophet. But, as Elijah passed by, God said to him, “There’s your man.” Elijahwalked over to the field, took his mantle—the symbol of his office—and flung it toward Elisha. Destiny was passing along the road, and Elijah was in a position to hear from God.
Today, we are too flippant. We take things too lightly; we turn from one thing to another too easily. We do not think enough; we do not meditate enough; we do not dream enough; and we do not give God a chance to speak to us. The result is that when God may want to speak, He speaks quietly by nothing more than the wind from a mantle of the Holy Ghost flung in our direction. We cannot hear and notice because of the drama and the color and the noise and the speed at which we live.
Elisha was a man plowing in the field when destiny passed by in the person of an old prophet about to go home. Elijah waved his mantle quietly, but the response had to come from Elisha; it could not come from Elijah. It had to come from the man Elisha. When Elijah laid his hand on him, Elisha recognized that this was the man of God.Elijah, that salty old prophet, was not going to be sentimental about it. He told Elisha to go back, saying, “What have I done to thee?” Elisha recognized the call of God, turned his back on his old life and followed Elijah from that point on. Firmly believe that if you are where you are now because of your ingenuity and maneuvering, you are probably not where God wants you to be. The call of God is a divine moment that is impossible to replicate. Elijah, himself, never knew where he was going to be. His life was a constant reaction to the voice of God. Elijah always went where God wanted him go.
  • God’s Call Brings Surrender and Obedience
Another consideration is that God is not going to do anything that runs contrary to His laws. God is consistent in everything, and there is a divine harmony about all He does. God is not the author of confusion (see 1 Cor. 14:33); the Bible clearly insinuates that the devil is the author of confusion. God will not use a man who is not in conformity to the will of God. God will not use a person just because he is a big shot in the eyes of the world. God cannot use big shots. God can only use that man or woman who will finally surrender to the will of God and say as Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me” (Isa. 6:8).
When God calls a man, the man knows it. When God calls a man, he cannot die until he has done the work God has called him to do. If God calls a man to a work, and the man says yes, that man cannot die until that work is done. The man God calls is immortal until his work is done. A man may never know when his work is done. Maybe the Lord will have a man start a work and then take him to heaven, and somebody else will carry it on in a way that he could not. (Never judge God if some missionary dies young, or a worker in the church dies young.)
Elisha left everything—his job, his friends, his wages, his big farm—and he left it for good. He did not attempt to do the impossible. He did not seek to walk on both sides of the fence at the same time; he turned his back completely on his past. Jesus told a parable about putting new wine in old bottles—old wineskins. He was emphasizing the futility of patching an old garment with new material.When you become a Christian, you cannot patch your Christianity onto your old life. You are to start over, turn your back on the past and follow the leading of the Lord.
Elisha said goodbye and turned his back on his former life. He put his life on the altar of obedience and surrender. He burned the bridge so he could never go back again. When God has called you, you kill the oxen, say goodbye to the old life, abandon the old business and go forward with God. As long as you can hear those old oxen bellowing, there is a temptation to go back to the old life. When God called the prophet home, He called him in His way. Likewise, when we are called, it is our business to say goodbye to the past and face the future, knowing we have been promoted. Accept God’s call as a promotion. Burn the old bridges and fix it so you cannot go back; then serve God with all your heart. My heart, O God, yearns for Thee and listens for that call that only comes from Thee. May I respond in such a way that I honor Thee before a world that is watching. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.