God’s Call Is Really a Call to Obey
Abraham’s call began with God speaking to him. We don’t know exactly how this happened. Maybe, God spoke to him through a fiery bush, through a cloud, a blinding light, or a soft whisper. We don’t know. But we do know that God made his will very clear to Abraham—he was to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household.
Many believers want to know God’s will. What is God’s will for my future? What career should I pursue? Who should I marry? What should I do next?
Everyone should understand a few important things about discerning and following God’s call. In one sense, there is a general call for all believers as revealed through God’s Word. God calls for all of us to make disciples, to spend time with Him every day through his Word and through prayer. We need to be involved with and serve a Bible preaching church, and to turn away from sin. These are all aspects of God’s general call for all believers.
However, God also has a specific call for every believer—such as seen in God’s call for Abraham to leave his home and family in order to be a blessing to the world. A specific call deals with things that are not clearly revealed through his Word—such as who to marry, what job to take, and how to serve.
In order to discern our specific call, we must apply the wisdom principles in Scripture. David said, “Your Word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet” (Ps 119:105).
When we are not using the principles given in Scripture, we walk in the dark.
Again, God has given a general call in Scripture for everyone to obey—like meditating on his Word day and night, sharing the gospel, using our spiritual gifts to serve the church, and turning away from sin. When we are faithful with what God has already revealed, he gives us more.
Jesus said if we are faithful with what we hear from God (including our general call and specific call), then he will give us more. But those who do not obey, God takes away.
There are many Christians that cannot discern God’s will because they are disobedient to their general call. Instead, they experience a hardening of the heart and an inability to hear and discern God’s voice. Another example of this is in Romans 12:2. It says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
When we are not conforming to the pattern of the world, we will be able to test (Is this of God or not?) and approve (This is God!) his pleasing and perfect will. By being faithful to God’s general will, we can discern God’s specific will.
The next thing we can discern about God’s call is that it is a call of His sovereignty. Why did God call Abraham? Was he more holy than everybody else? Was he more faithful? No. It seems that Abraham worshiped pagan gods just like everybody else. He was from the land of Ur, in Mesopotamia, that was known for worshiping Nanna, the moon god.
Joshua declared that Abraham’s family members were idolaters. Joshua 24:2–3 says,
Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the River and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac.”
Abraham was from a family of idolaters. No way around that.
Abraham, like Noah before him, was a faithful follower of Yahweh God. However, it seems that Abraham is included with the idolaters, as he was one of Israel’s “forefathers.” His call seems to be more like Paul’s.
While Paul was on his way to persecute Christians, Christ appeared to him in a shining light and converted him (Acts 9). Like Paul, God stops Abraham right in the midst of his sin and calls him.
Abraham was an idolater. There was no special reason for God to call him. In fact, as we follow his story, we will watch him fail God many times. He lies about his wife (twice) and, at one point, fathers a child by his wife’s servant – then marries her. He allows his wife, Sarah, to abuse his new, pregnant wife. Then he sends the child and the childs wife out to die in the desert. He fails God in so many ways.
What makes him special is God’s Grace. God chose him from among all the pagans to bestow special grace on him, and this grace was not just to bless Abraham but to bless the entire world through him. The messiah, Jesus Christ, eventually came through his lineage. Amen!
After sin entered the world, nobody seeks God anymore—at least not the God of the Bible. They have all gone their own way. The mind of man is so corrupted that he is hostile to God and cannot submit to his law. Man is so corrupt that the things of God are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them—apart from God’s Spirit.
We see that being played out all around us today. Just take a look at all of the depravity in society that is being called “normal” today. Does this please God?