Tuesday, January 3

The will of God, part 1

Understanding "the call of God" on my life is a journey that I've been on since high school, really. I've heard many times that God called someone to something or to seek the will of God and He will answer. I've even used that verbiage before...for example, "God called me into ministry" or "I'm seeking God's will on this." And yet despite using that terminology, I struggle with this theology of "the call of God."

Where is the line between being "bold and courageous" and "wise and discerning"? And when or how does the "call/will of God" play a part of the going or staying process of making decisions? That is what I am ultimately trying to figure out. This is what I am going to talk through in a mini-series of posts. Today I'm going to share a couple thoughts that surfaced in reading Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus...a good read!

Consider the people of Israel. They were called by God out of bondage to a land full of hope and a future. They were given an inheritance and told to go claim it, leaving behind the years of chains that had trapped them. And yet, besides Caleb and Joshua, they resisted in fear, which kept them walking in circles for 40 years, after they received their initial calling. "The Lord challenged His people to act on the promises He has made to them....Joshua and Caleb concluded that there could not possibly be enough giants to stop God from fulfilling His promise to them" (McManus, p. 157). The land was already theirs for the taking and yet fear kept a whole generation from seeing the fulfillment of that calling.

Consider Jonathan and this crazy story in I Samuel 14. The men of Israel were at war with the Philistines. King Saul, who just happens to be Jonathan's father, is too timid or fearful to boldly fight for the land that was theirs but in the middle of night, or during siesta time, Jonathan instructs his armor-bearer to join him in attacking the enemy saying, "perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf" (vs 6). Perhaps?? I think if I were the armor-bearer I'd tell Jonathan to wake me when he knew for certain. But instead, the armor-bearer basically says, "sounds good, let's see what happens" even though the only weapon they had was one sword that was in Jonathan's hands. There wasn't a clear directive from God to go provoke the Philistines. Jonathan didn't even have a guarantee of success or a certainty that God had ordained this mission. For all he knew, he could be walking towards his death. But he also knew that God was stronger and greater than any amount of soldiers and no matter if there was two men or two hundred, the enemy could still be overtaken. And that's what happened! Jonathan's mentality was to advance until God stopped him. "Jonathan understood that when you're moving with God, you must move with an advance mentality. You move forward unless God tells you to stop. You advance unless God tells you to wait. There are certain things that you do not need permission to do. You've already been commissioned to do them. There are certain things that you do not need a calling to do. You've already been commanded to do them....[Jonathan] wasn't sitting around waiting for a sign. He moved forward in everything he knew to do. Confirmation came in the midst of action" (McManus, p. 159).

So we have one story with a call/command and another story without. That's helpful, isn't it?
Tomorrow, I'll be sharing a couple blogs snippets that have spoken on this idea of "God's will." I'd love to hear any of your thoughts along the way.

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