Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Reader asks “What is the ‘Call of God’?”

Hello. I have a question that I've been pondering. What is "The Calling of God?" In Jeremiah 1:5 YHWH calls Jeremiah ; Sh'muel was called (set apart). There are many other accounts of this "Call of God." In the book of Romans 11:29 "For Elohim is not changeable in his free gift and His calling" (AENT). I've seen this "Calling of God" erroneously stated, even "prophesied" over people, advocating "gifts assessments", aka: "God's got a call on your life..." I know many are called and even fewer chosen or choose to listen to God.  Thank you for all you do. Your ministry has been instrumental in my life. Shalom.

Our Reply

This is a very good question "What is the calling of God?"… and a wise observation. It's difficult to answer as there is no "correct" answer. Nevertheless, the phrase "Call of God," as you’ve clearly witnessed, is very much misused and abused. Christianity, for example (speaking very broadly), tends to read Romans 11:29, "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (ESV) to be all about A) individual "gifts", i.e., "God has given you spiritual gifts" and B) "it is your personal calling..." Of course, that is not what the verse means. Since both the concept of the "Call of God" and Romans 11:29 are mentioned, let me first address the latter:

Romans 11:29

In the verse, Paul is not talking about "Christians" (Christianity did not yet exist.) He is talking about how the people of God rejected His gift and that Gentiles, begin grafted-in to the tree, have every much the same responsibility as do His chosen people. But Paul had just explained that His chosen People had rejected God's gift, yet they remain His people and their destiny remained open for them to "return" to Him (carefully read Romans 10:1-11:27). Indeed he summarized in 11:28:

"Now, in the Good News, they are enemies for your sake; but in the election, they are beloved for the father's sake" (AENT). Not such an easy verse to understand, but here is what it means derived from the context preceding the narrative:

- "They" in "they are enemies for your sake" are the Jews who have rejected the Messiah. (Romans 10:2-3).

- But "they" (the Jews) are the "elect" and "they" remain beloved and that God has destined that "they" will return to a close relationship with Him as they come to faith in the Messiah at some point in the future (Romans 11: 25-27).

Thus, the meaning 11:29 comes into focus: "For Elohim is not changeable in his free gift and in his calling" declares that God chose His people and He has not turned His back, and his "gift" of redemption remains for His people whom He called to be His.

Paul then goes on to say that "you [gentiles] too were formerly disobedient..." ...and now have the same mercy He offers His chosen whom He still loves. (11:30-36.)

So, finally, I can say that the "calling" is not about what we are individually called to do or be, rather the "calling" refers the unchanging fact that God called people to be His and that still holds.

The Call of God

Now, I can return to my thoughts on the "Call of God". I'll keep this brief:

  • We are all made in His image. (Genesis 1:26-27.)
  • We are called to be His people and to be holy. (Genesis 17:7-8, Exodus 6:7, Leviticus 19:2., Deuteronomy 7:6, and others.)
  • For we are His creation who are created in Y’shua the Mashiyach for good works which Elohim has before prepared for us to walk in. (Ephesians 2:10.)
  • Since he delivered us and called us to a life of holiness as his people. It was not because of our deeds, but because of his own purpose and the grace which he gave to us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. He did this before the beginning of time. (2 Timothy 1:9.)

Thus the "Call of God" is eternal to all humankind. Each person is born with the "call" already in them as the image of God. But that "call" is dormant unless the individual takes action to cause it to bloom (Ezekiel 18:27-28).  Once it blooms, then the way which was ALWAYS prepared for him (Ephesians 2:10) is opened for him to walk.

As you saw in Jeremiah 1:5, we, too, are known before we are born, but as it has always been, part of the "gift" is our acceptance of it and what we do with it. That is the Call of God.

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