The Call of God
Subject 3: The Different ways God calls someone (Part One)
How does God begin to work in the life of a believer or unbeliever before they are fully aware that God is actually calling them? This is so intriguing to those who really want to know, like me. So I purposed in my heart that if I was given the insight to learn about this I will sincerely share it with those who are either clueless or have given up trying to understand God’s divine call on their lives.
Before You Were Born
God’s call on a believers’ life actually begins before they are born into this world. We can see this in several biblical examples;
With Jeremiah- Before I formed you in the womb I knew (and) approved of you (as my chosen instrument), and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; (and) I appointed you as a Prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5 AMP).
With Isaiah- Listen to me, O isles and coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The Lord has called me from the womb; from the body of my mother He has named my name (Isa. 49:1 AMP).
With Born Again Believers’- Paul wrote, Even as (in His love) He chose us (actually picked us out for Himself as His own) in Christ before the foundation o (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love (Eph.1:4 AMP).
Who Knew They Were Called Before They Were Born
Isaac- God promised Abraham and Sarah that they’ll have a child and he will inherit the blessings (Gen.17:15-19).
Jacob- God told Rebekah that she has twins and the older will serve the younger (Gen.25:20-26).
John the Baptist- Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him he’ll have a baby with his wife and they will call him John, and he will be a prophet (Luke 1:5-20,57-80).
Jesus- Mary was told that she will have a miraculous birth and have the Savior of the world when Gabriel appeared to her (Luke 1:26-38). Joseph (Mary’s fiancé) also received word through a dream by an Angel that Mary was truly supernaturally pregnant and he was encouraged to marry her (Matt. 1:18-25).
There are more examples however, we see that Isaac, Jacob, John, and Jesus knew early on that they would be what God had revealed to their parents. And their parents made sure that they were well aware of it.
What about those Bible Characters that were called before they were born, but didn’t actually know it until later on in their lives?
How did God lead them before the divine call by revelation?
How did God reveal to them their calling?
How did God prepare them after they received a sure word about their calling?
How long did it take for them to actually enter into that high calling?
To answer these questions fully we need to look at the life of Joseph (Jacob’s son). There are 4 phases or stages in Joseph’s life that he encountered that allowed him to enter into his high calling God had upon his life. Let’s consider the 4 phases in Joseph’s life and calling:
Phase # 1: God’s calling on Joseph’s life- The automatic unconscious preparation.
God had already given Joseph an attitude and heart of righteousness. Joseph was 17 years old, a responsible and caring shepherd unlike his brothers who were totally opposite. So Jacob relied solely on the report of Joseph when it came to the business of the sheep (Gen.37:1-2). Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age, he made Joseph an expensive colorful coat (Gen.37:3). This phase of Joseph’s life is called the unconscious preparation.
Solomon said this way, Man’s goings are of the Lord; How can a man then understand his own way? (Prov.20:24 KJV)
Jeremiah said, O Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself: It is not in man that walks to direct his steps (Jer.10:23 KJV).
Joseph was automatically and unconsciously being prepared for the calling God had upon his life. How do we know this? Because unlike Samson and John the Baptist. God never told Jacob that he was going to have a special son and he should not drink wine, eat certain foods and should not cut his hair. (See Judges 13:3-5 about Samson and Luke 1:11-17 about John the Baptist).
Joseph was shepherding his father’s flock, and had to deal with careless relatives and co-workers. Joseph was responsible toward something that didn’t belong to him an accountable to his father. Joseph was sincere in relaying the evil reports of his brothers when asked by his father. Joseph was highly favored and financially rewarded for his integrity, humility, and submissive obedience. As a result, his brothers hated him. (Gen.37:4). Note: Living right after we are born again is part of God’s call on our lives. So we should be encouraged to live up to better standards than the rest of the world.
Phase #2: The Sure Word of God
As Joseph continued to live in the integrity that God had been inspiring him to maintain, God reveals His divine plan for Josephs’ life. How did God revealed His plan to Joseph? Joseph had been given 2 dreams that gave a two-fold meaning and prophetic insight into the future of his calling.
First Meaning- And he said to them, listen now hear, I pray you, this dream that I have dreamed: We brothers were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright…. (Gen.37:7a). This symbolizes that Joseph will be a leader.
Second Meaning- And behold, your sheaves stood round about my sheaf and bowed down (Gen.37:7b). This indicates that his brothers will bow before him as a leader.
The Second Dream- confirms the first dream but adds a little fuel to the fire. Joseph’s brothers resented the first dream. And said, shall you indeed reign over us? Or are you going to have us as your subjects and dominate us? And they hated him all the more for his dreams and for what he said (Gen.37:8 AMP). Joseph’s second dream was that 11 stars and the sun and moon will bow down to him. He told his father and brothers then Jacob rebuked him. His brothers hated him but his father observed the sayings (Gen.37:9-11 AMP). After the 2 dreams and the unwise approach to share them with brothers who already hate you, it increased the tension in the work place and at home.
The persecution increased in Joseph’s life. So much so, that his brothers plotted to kill him. They decided not too and that they should throw him in a pit and sell him off as a slave to the Ishmaelities (Gen.37:12-36).
Phase #3: The Training for the Calling
God’s divine school of experience for learning practical wisdom is unlike bible college its ruff and tuff, it will challenge you greater than a questionnaire filled with A,B,C,D answers to choose from. It is living a life of faith filled with adversity to get to the high calling. But remember God is with you all the way (See Gen. 39:2/ Matt.28:18-20).
God had to take Joseph through a unique experience by placing him in different social circles.
Social Level One- Immediate family and co-workers in the family business being a shepherd boy.
Social Level Two- sold a slave to Potiphar. God was with Joseph and Potipar appointed him as the chief servant in his house(Gen.39:1-6). During this training period Joseph was tempted daily by Potiphars wife to commit adultery but he rejected her every time. Finally she traps him then he gets away and she cried attempted rape. So Potiphar places him in prison (Gen.39:7-20).
Social Level Three- a prisoner. In prison God was with Joseph and he was appointed as the wardens runner and in charge of the feed up of the other prisoners. This experience was designed by God to develop a compassion toward the condemned and outcast of society (Gen.39:21-23). In prison God begins to set the stage for Joseph to be released and enter into the high calling that He revealed to him in the 2 dreams(Gen.40:1-2). The butler and baker were granted a dream each and they did not understand the interpretation to the dreams (Gen.40:3-5). Joseph serves them over hears their conversation and asked them to share the dream with him and God gave Joseph the interpretation to them both (Gen.40:6-19). The baker is hung and the butler was restored to his original position (Gen.40:20-22).The butler forgot Joseph (Gen.40:23).
Phase #4: The Entrance into the High Calling of God
Two years passed by Joseph probably thought that the butler would put a good word in for him to Pharoah so he may be released and perhaps appointed as a servant in the palace why not? He served as a chief servant with Potiphar. This is why we must trust God not man. However, God gave Pharoah two dreams that no one could interpret. (Gen.41:1-8). The butler now remembers Joseph (Gen.41:9-14).
Pharoah calls for Joseph. Joseph interprets the dreams. Then gave him a practical approach to live out the 14 year time period in which the dream begins to unfold (Gen.41:14-37).
Notice that Joseph was 17 years old when he received the 2 dreams that he will be a leader it did not happen until he is appointed here at the age of 30 (Gen.41:46). And Joseph’s brothers did not bow down to him until he was 39 years olds (Gen.45:4-8). The point here is that when God shows you the future through a dream it may take some time to come to pass. But remain faithful through thick and thin God will eventually bring you into that high calling. Next weekend we will go deeper into the topic of God’s call through the avenue of Dreams and Visions.
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