God is Calling Yet

"That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."            -- 1 Thessalonians 2:12

 

Lesson 1: Peter, James & John -- Called to Follow Jesus

(Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20)

Overview: In this lesson we want to help students realize that they have been called to follow Jesus.  The Lord wants us to follow Him no matter how great or small we may be, but we will need to leave some things behind.  If we choose to follow, we will be walking in the footsteps of One who cared for those that were hurting, who spoke God's truth authoritatively, and who submitted to God's will even though it meant He had to die.

 

THE CALL

  Jesus called common men: We are told that Peter, James and John were fishermen (Matthew 4:18).  This was not what they did for fun; it was their job.  Commercial fishing is hard and dirty work.  It doesn't require much intelligence or a lot of money or a high standing in society. You don't have to be great in the eyes of the world to be called by the Lord! (1 Corinthians 1:26).

  Jesus called men to follow Him.  We often emphasize the fact that Jesus promised that He would make them fishers of men.  This was what they were ultimately called to do, but first and foremost they are simply called to follow Jesus.  A disciple is a follower of Christ.  We are all called to be disciples (Matthew 16:24). 

THE RESPONSE

  Peter, James and John followed Jesus immediately.  The accounts in both Matthew and Mark indicate that the disciples responded immediately to the call of Jesus.  It should be noted however that these men had already become well acquainted with Jesus and His teaching.  They weren't just responding to the call of some random stranger.  John the Baptist's testimony concerning Christ had impressed several of them, and they had spent some time with Jesus already, observing His signs and hearing His teaching (see John 1:36-41; 2:1-2).  By the time Jesus calls them, John had already been put in prison (Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14-15).

  They left things behind so they could follow Jesus.  Peter, James and John left their nets, their boats and even their families to follow Jesus.  Following Christ means putting Him before everything else.  We must be willing to sacrifice wealth, pleasures and even relationships (see Matthew 10:37-38; 19:21).

 

FOLLOWING IN THE STEPS OF JESUS

We are focusing on Peter, James and John in this lesson, not only because they were called to follow Jesus, but also because they DID follow Him even more closely than the other disciples.  These three were with the Lord on three very important occasions:

1. They followed when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:22-24, 37-53).  Witnessing this great miracle, the disciples learned that following Jesus means having compassion on those who have suffered loss.  They also learned that Jesus has the power to help, even when no one else does.

2. They followed when Jesus was transfigured.  (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-8).  What the disciples saw and heard as they followed Jesus to up a mountain to His transfiguration revealed the majesty and authority of Jesus.  He is superior to Moses and the prophets.  The disciples who saw Him transfigured recognized that Jesus is truly the Son of God.  Peter would later write that "We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'  And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." (2 Peter 1:16-18).

3. They followed when Jesus went to Gethsemane (Mark 14:33-41).   Our three disciples were special witnesses of Jesus' sorrow and grief as He prayed in the garden the night before He was crucified.  Jesus prayed that the Father's will, not His own, would be done.  His selfless and trusting submission in the face of great suffering is an example for all of us; this is what it means to follow Jesus! "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21; see also Philippians 2:5-8).

  The weary disciples should also have been praying for strength for their impending trials, but they were overcome with sleep.  Three times Jesus came and found them sleeping.  Jesus surely was tired as well, but He was able to forego sleep to be watchful in prayer.  Although He was the Son of God, He felt compelled to seek His Father's aid.  How much more should we who follow Him be watchful in our prayers so that we will not be overcome by temptation? (Matthew 6:18; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Peter 4:7).

  Peter's experience as one who was called to follow Jesus is interesting here.  Jesus had already told Peter that he would deny Him (Mark 14:29-30).  When Christ was led away from Gethsemane to be tried, Peter followed Him, but "at a distance" (Mark 14:54).  That night Peter did deny the Lord (Mark 14:66-72).  But later, after Jesus was raised from the dead, Jesus challenged Peter again to "follow Me" (John 21:18-19). 

Conclusion:  Answering the call to follow Jesus takes real commitment.  As it did with Peter, it may involve more than we realize before all is said and done.  But if we want to stay close to Jesus in this life and for all eternity we must answer the call to follow Him.

 

Lesson 2: Paul -- Called to Share the Gospel

(Acts 9; 16:9-10; Galatians 1:15)

Overview: Although Saul of Tarsus was an unlikely choice, God called Him to take the gospel to the world.  We too are called to share the gospel; and like Paul, we must commit to doing so no matter the hardships or obstacles.

 

THE CALL

  Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of Christians.  He mercilessly harassed disciples with a zeal seldom if ever equaled in the history of the church (Acts 7:59-8:3; 22:4-5; 26:11).   In his own written descriptions of his deeds he uses some of the strongest words of condemnation found in any of his epistles (1 Timothy 1:15; Philippians 3:6; Galatians 1:13).

  Saul was called while engaged in carrying out persecution.  Threatening to seek out and kill the Lord's disciples, Saul procured what were essentially arrest warrants from the High Priest to the synagogues of Damascus authorizing him to take Christians into custody and bring them to Jerusalem for trial (Acts 9:1-2; 26:9-11).  But while Saul was traveling to Damascus, the Lord appeared to him.  A bright light shone around Saul and a voice from heaven said, "Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?"  Saul said, "Who are you Lord?" The Lord identified Himself as "Jesus, whom you are persecuting."  The Lord told Saul that he had appeared to him for this purpose: "to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you" (Acts 26:16).

  Why would the Lord call this man? From a human standpoint, Saul would appear to be the last person on earth you would want to enlist to persuade people to become Christians.  But the Lord does not see as man sees (1 Samuel 16:7).  The Lord looks at the heart.  And despite all of Saul's terrible deeds and attitudes, the Lord surely saw all along that Saul of Tarsus wanted to serve God.  Saul became the Lord's apostle Paul who later wrote that "it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,  to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles" (Galatians 1:15-16).

 

SAUL'S RESPONSE

    Salvation first!  Although the Lord had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, Saul had yet to be saved.  He had not even been told how to be saved.  He was told to go into Damascus and wait to be "told what you must do" (Acts 9:6).  At this point, Saul knew three things: First, he knew that the very One whom he had branded as the founder of a heretical sect was in fact Christ the Lord.  Second, he knew that the Lord wanted him to tell others about Him.  Third, he knew that he was to wait for further instruction in Damascus.  So that is what he did.  He waited.  He couldn't begin to tell others the full story of the gospel yet because he did not know it. But after three days of waiting and praying in Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to Saul who reiterated what Jesus had told Saul on the road and then instructed him to "arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord"(Acts 22:12-16).  "And he arose and was baptized" (Acts 9:18).

  He shared the gospel!  Acts 9:20 tells us that "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God."  He did not procrastinate.  He did not delay while he waited for the approval of his old Jewish friends or his new Christian brethren.  Being instructed by the Lord Himself, Paul did not stop to ask whether he should speak or what he should speak. He says, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance (Acts 26:19-20).  In Galatians 1:16 he adds, "I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood." 

   He was thankful and humbled. Paul understood what an awesome privilege it is to get to tell others about Jesus.  He realized that, considering his former life as a persecutor of Christians, he was blessed indeed to have the opportunity to be a minister of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:9;     1 Timothy 1:12-14 

  He was duty bound.  Besides everything else, Paul understood that he had an obligation to preach and teach the gospel   In 1 Corinthians 9:16 he says, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!"  We also have an obligation.  We "ought to be teachers" (Hebrews 5:12).

 

HIS COMMITMENT TO SHARING THE GOSPEL

    In spite of his own limitations.  We usually do not think of Paul as being limited in his abilities.  Certainly he was well educated and enjoyed the benefits of a first-class Jewish upbringing (Philippians 3:3-6; Acts 22:3).  But he did not use "excellence of speech or of wisdom" proclaiming the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:1-4).  In fact, some who knew him were of the opinion that "his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible" (2 Corinthians 10:10).  It appears that he also may have had some physical malady that served as an obstacle to preaching (Galatians 4:12-13; 2 Corinthians 12:7).  Whatever Paul's limitations were, whether of speaking ability or physical ailments, he refused to allow them to stand in the way of sharing the gospel.

  In spite of limitations of time and opportunity. All of us experience the limitations of being human.  No one who lives in the flesh can be two places at once.  And in the one place we can be, we often have difficulty recognizing and taking advantage of every opportunity.  There may be those that we would like to talk to, but haven't had the chance.  Paul knew the feeling.  On his second missionary journey, there were several places he wanted to preach, but could not; when he finally got his opportunity in Philippi, he took full advantage (Acts 16:6-10. 13-15, 23-34). He later told the Romans that "I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now" (Romans 1:13).  Still, he kept himself ready when the opportunity came. "So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also" (Romans 1:15).  This should be our attitude as well (Colossians 4:3-6).

  In spite of persecution.  Paul encountered severe persecution for preaching the gospel, yet he would not allow persecution stop him (2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 11:23-33).  The hardships we might face are seldom as severe.  If and when they come, like Paul we must view them as badges of honor (Galatians 6:17; Matthew 5:11-12).  We cannot allow the adversaries of Christ to terrify us into silence or inaction.  As Paul tells the Philippians, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me." (Philippians 1:29-30).

CONCLUSION:  Saul of Tarsus was called to share the gospel.  So are we.  We may feel unworthy.  We may be keenly aware of our own limitations.  We may suffer persecution.  But the salvation of souls is too important to allow any of these things keep us from answering the call.  As Paul said, "None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).

 

Lesson 3: Samuel -- Called to Reprove the Erring

(1 Samuel 3)

Overview: When Samuel was just a boy, the Lord called him to reprove Eli the priest.  Samuel was reluctant at first, but he soon learned that he must say what the Lord wanted Him to say.  We are called to speak words of correction and reproof to the erring, and we must be sure to speak these words in love no matter what the consequences may be to ourselves or others

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CALL OF SAMUEL

  Samuel was a special boy!  His mother Hannah was unable to have children for a long time.  In anguish of soul, she went to the Tabernacle and prayed to the Lord for a male child.  She promised that if the Lord would grant her request, she would give her child to the Lord "all the days of his life" (1 Samuel 1:1-11).  Eli the priest at first thought that Hannah was drunk as she prayed, because her lips moved but her voice could not be heard.  When Hannah explained what she was doing, Eli said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him" (1 Samuel 1:17).

  In answer to her prayer, Hannah did have a son.  She called him "Samuel" which means "heard by God."  When he was weaned, she took him back to the tabernacle and presented him to Eli the priest, declaring that "as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:28).  When Hannah went home, Samuel remained with Eli.  The Bible says that "the child ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest" (1 Samuel 2:11b, 18).  Hannah returned year by year to worship, and she would always bring a new hand-made robe for Samuel (1 Samuel 2:19).  Eventually the Lord blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters (1 Samuel 2:21).  As the boy Jesus did many centuries later, "the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men."(1 Samuel 2:26, cp. Luke 2:52).

  There was sin in the house of Eli!  Despite the fact that Eli was the priest, his sons were very wicked, and they did not know the Lord.  The text says that they were "corrupt" or "sons of Belial" (1 Samuel 2:12 KJV, cp. 2 Corinthians 6:15).  They would take their portion of meat off the sacrificial animals before the animals had even been offered; in so doing they committed great sin "for men abhorred the offering of the Lord" (1 Samuel 2:13-17).  They would also engage in sexual immorality with the women who assembled at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).  Eli rebuked his sons for their wicked ways, but he did not stop them (1 Samuel 2:23-25).  The Lord was very disappointed and sent an unnamed prophet to Eli to curse Eli's house.  Through the prophet, the Lord asks Eli "Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me?" (1 Samuel 29:20).

 

THE CALL OF SAMUEL

  Samuel was still a boy, ministering in the tabernacle, when the Lord called him to deliver a special message to Eli.  We can only imagine Samuel's feelings as he began to drift off to sleep one night and heard the Lord call his name.  At first, Samuel thought Eli was calling, and he ran to Eli and said "Here I am."  Eli told him to go back and lie down.  The same thing happened a second time.  When it happened the third time, "Eli perceived that the LORD had called the boy" and he said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.'"  And that is what Samuel does.

  The message the Lord gives to Samuel is very bad news for the house of Eli.  In fact, what God would do to Eli's house was so bad that the ears of those who heard it would tingle or burn!  Not only would God fulfill the curse that He had already pronounced against the house of Eli, but He would not accept any sacrifice in atonement for the sins of Eli's house (1 Samuel 3:11-14).  Eli's doom was sealed.

 

SAMUEL'S RESPONSE

    Initially Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision (1 Samuel 3:15).  Here was a man who had been his provider and master for as long as he could remember.  Perhaps Samuel feared to hurt Eli's feelings, or perhaps he feared Eli's reaction.  Whatever the case, Samuel's first inclination is one that most of us can relate to.  We need to remember though that we show more love to our loved ones by rebuking them when they need it than we do when we withhold rebuke.  The Bible says that "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed" (Proverbs 27:5).

   It is at Eli's insistence that Samuel tells him what the Lord said (1 Samuel 3:16-18).  Whatever character flaws Eli had, at least here we see that he was willing and eager to hear what God said.  This will not be true of everyone, but it will be true of many people who have respect for God (cf. Psalm 141:5).

  One might wonder why the Lord delivered this message to young Samuel.  Could he not have sent the unnamed prophet He had sent earlier?  Why burden the boy with this?  It's hard to say for sure, but it is clear that Samuel learned a lot about overcoming his own fears and trusting God's word by being made to deliver this message.  In the course of his long life time, and even beyond it (1 Samuel 28:15-19), Samuel would have to deliver many difficult messages from God to His servants.  He needed to learn early that His job was to declare the message, come what may.  The content of God's word belongs to God; it is unalterable and must be respected by men.  The Lord did not allow any of Samuel's words to "fall to the ground" because they were in truth the Lord's words (1 Samuel 3:19-20).  Samuel lived to see the day when the things God had spoken against the house of Eli came to pass (1 Samuel 4.)

 

OUR CALL TO REPROVE AND REBUKE

  It is never pleasant to deliver a message of rebuke, correction or condemnation to someone we love.  But God calls Christians to do just that. 

  Rebuking others can be an unpleasant task which we may be tempted to avoid.  We may be concerned about hurting the feelings of loved ones or other possible negative consequences of giving rebuke.  But we need to remember that the Lord is with us (Hebrews 13:6).  We may have to suffer for doing His will in this area, but there is always a blessing in suffering for doing what is right (1 Peter 3:14-17).  Proverbs 24:25 says that that "those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.

 

Lesson 4: Gideon -- Called to Conquer by Faith

(Judges 6 & 7; Hebrews 11:32)

Overview: Gideon was called to conquer those who were opposing God's people.  Like Gideon, we must make certain that our instructions are coming from God, and then we must trust and follow those instructions.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CALL OF GIDEON

  The plight of Israel (Judges 6:1-10).  In Gideon's day, the Midianites were oppressing the people of God.  The Midianites would invade Israel in great numbers, passing through the land with their livestock and spoiling the crops.  Because of this, the Israelites were impoverished and sought shelter in caves and dens in the mountains.  God had allowed these things to happen because Israel had worshiped other gods and had not been faithful to Him.  However, in their distress, Israel cried out for God's help.  The Lord answered by calling Gideon and raising him up to deliver Israel from the Midianites.

    

THE CALL(S) OF GIDEON

  Gideon's first call (Judges 6:11-32).  Like the rest of his countrymen, Gideon lived in fear of the Midianites.  One day as he was threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites, an angel appeared to him.  The angel said, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" (Judges 6:12).  Gideon probably did not think of himself as a mighty man of valor at this point, nor is it likely that he looked the part as he coward in the winepress threshing wheat.  But again, the Lord does not see as man sees.  Gideon also wasn't too sure that the Lord was with Israel; he realizes that for Midian to be oppressing Israel as it was, the Lord must have forsaken them.  But the angel assures Gideon that because the Lord is with him, he will save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Gideon cannot fathom this.  He says, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house" (Judges 6:15).   The Lord answered, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man" (Judges 6:16).  Like Gideon, we need to learn that God does not expect us to be successful because of our own strength and might, but because He is with us!

  Gideon's response. Before Gideon commits to anything, he wants to make certain that it is the Lord who is speaking to him.  So he prepares an offering of a goat, bread and broth and presents it before the angel.  The angel instructs him to lay the goat and bread on a rock, and pour out the broth.  The angel then touches the meat and the unleavened bread with the end of his staff "and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight" (Judges 6:21).  Gideon immediately realizes that he has indeed been contacted by God. 

  That same night the Lord instructs Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal that was in the town, build an altar to the Lord, and sacrifice his father's bull upon it (Judges 6:25-26). Gideon responded by doing just what God said, even though he feared the idolatrous men of the town.  Here we see Gideon learning to stand up for what is right because he realizes that the Lord is with him.

 

Gideon's second call (Judges 6:33-7: 25)

  The Midianites and Amalekites invaded Israel in great numbers and encamped in the Jezreel Valley.  Gideon gathered the men of his town and those from nearby tribes to do battle against the invaders.  He knew that he was called to save Israel in this way, but he still wanted to make certain that the Lord was with Him.  So, Gideon asks the Lord to reassure him.  He put a wool fleece on the ground overnight and asked that the Lord make the fleece wet with dew but leave the ground dry.  When the Lord does this, Gideon still wants to make double sure, so he asks God on the next night to make the fleece dry and the ground wet.  With this assurance, Gideon rose early with his forces and encamped against the Midianites.

  However, at this point the Lord informs Gideon that his forces are too great.  When Israel was victorious, they might think that their own strength was responsible.  So, Gideon was to tell his troops that anyone who was afraid could go home.  Of the 32,000 people, 22,000 went home.  Still the army was too large.  The Lord told Gideon to have his men go down to the water and drink.  300 men drank putting their hands to their mouths; the others got down on their knees to drink.  The Lord told Gideon that He would save Israel with the 300 men.

   That night the Lord told Gideon to go into the camp of the Midianites and he would hear them say something that would strengthen his hands.  When Gideon does so, he hears one Midianite tell another of a dream he had in which a loaf of barley tumbles into the camp of Midian and causes a tent to collapse.  The other Midianite responds that this surely represented "nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp" (Judges 7:14).  After hearing this, Gideon is confident that the Lord will give him victory.  He conveys this confidence to his men.  

  The 300 Israelites surround the much larger camp of Midian at night.  They blow trumpets and break pitchers with torches inside and shout, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."  In terror and confusion the Midianites turn their swords on one another and flee.  Israel is given a tremendous victory.

 

Our Call to Fight Against the Forces of Evil

  Like Gideon, we are called to fight against the forces of evil.  As the Midianites were in Gideon's day, the forces of our enemy are large and overwhelming (Ephesians 6:12).  Only by trusting in the strength that God supplies can we win the battle.  If we are to" be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" we must use every piece of armor the Lord provides (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18).  We must "watch, stand fast in the faith" and "be brave" (1 Corinthians 16:13).  Like Gideon, we must trust that God is with us and that He will give us the victory.  For "some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).   We know that God "is a shield to all who trust in Him" (Psalm 18:30).  This must be our approach

  Of course, our foe is not a physical army (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  The things we have to fight against will be things like evil influences on television or in music, negative peer pressure at school or work, and temptations of every kind that we face daily.  The apostle Peter describes these things as "fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).  We can only be successful against such forces if, like Gideon, we make certain we are hearing God's word, we determine to follow it, and we trust God to be with us.

 

Lesson 5: Moses - Answering God's Call without Excuse

(Exodus 3 & 4)

Overview: Moses was called to deliver God's people from bondage.  Initially he made many excuses for not answering this call, but ultimately God used Moses to accomplish a great deliverance.  Today, God is calling us to His work.  There are no good excuses for not answering this call!

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CALL OF MOSES

  The children of Israel had migrated to Egypt in the time Joseph.  Because Joseph was highly favored by Pharaoh, Israel was treated with respect and kindness.  But eventually "there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph" (Exodus 1:8).   He feared Israel's might, and so he made the Israelites slaves.  When the children of Israel continued to multiply, the king commanded that every new-born Hebrew male child be thrown in the river. 

  "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. "Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, 'who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?' Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons" (Acts 7:20-29).

 

THE CALL OF MOSES (Exodus 3:1-10)

  One day Moses was tending the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro near Mount Horeb (Sinai).  An angel appeared to him as a flame of fire in the midst of a bush.  Moses drew closer to see the why the bush was not being consumed by the flame. God called to Moses from the midst of the bush: "Moses, Moses."  When Moses responded, "Here I am," the Lord said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." 

  The Lord then proceeds to call Moses to deliver His people from Egypt.  First, the Lord identifies Himself for Moses as "the God of your father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6).  Second, He explains that He has seen the oppression of His people and that He has come to deliver them from Egypt and give them a "good and large land" (Exodus 3:7-8).  Third, He tells Moses that, "I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:10).  At this point, Moses knows everything that is necessary to answer God's call.  He knows that it is the LORD who is calling him.  He knows that the Lord is planning to do something that would result in a great blessing for His people.  And, he knows what role God wants him to play in accomplishing His plan.

 

THE RESPONSE OF MOSES

  Moses immediately begins to question God.  In so doing, he implies that he should not be the one God calls to deliver His people. He raises five issues in an apparent effort to avoid answering God's call.

1. Who am I? (Exodus 3:11-12).  Moses does not see himself as anyone great or special.  But God does not call us because we great; the glory and the greatness belong to God (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).  The Lord tells Moses, "I will certainly be with you."  If God is with you, it doesn't matter how great or small you might be.

2. Who are You? (Exodus 3:13-18).  Moses wants to know what he should tell the children of Israel when they ask for the name of the God who sent him.  The Lord responds, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' "Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you."

3. What if people don't believe me? (Exodus 4:1-9).  Moses wonders, "suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.'"  In response, the Lord grants Moses the ability to perform miraculous signs - turning his rod into a snake, making his hand leprous, and turning water into blood.  God always provides sufficient evidence to enable a person to believe His message.  Today, we can believe the message of Jesus and His apostles because God provided ample evidence (Hebrews 2:3-4; Acts 2:22).

4. I am not eloquent. (Exodus 4:10-12).  Moses explains that he is "not eloquent" and that he is "slow of speech and slow of tongue."  The implication is that he is unsuited to answer God's call.  The Lord asks, "Who has made man's mouth?"  We must remember that the Lord knows precisely what we are capable of.  "He knows our frame" for he designed and created it (Psalm 103:14).  Therefore we should be very cautious before we excuse ourselves from doing what God has called us to do by claiming that we are incapable of it!

5. Send somebody else (Exodus 4:13-17).  Moses begged, "LORD, please send someone else to do it" (CEV).   This angers the Lord.  He informs Moses that Aaron would be His spokesman.  There would be no acceptable excuse for not answering God's call.  What somebody else could do or should do in the Lord's work is no excuse for not doing what we ourselves are supposed to do (cf. John 21:21-22).

  Despite his initial reluctance, Moses did answer God's call and he became one of the most effective servants of God the world as ever seen. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 states that, "But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel."

WE TOO MUST ANSWER GOD'S CALL WITHOUT EXCUSE

  In this series of lessons we've seen that God is still calling people.  He is calling us to follow Jesus, to share the gospel, to reprove the erring and to fight evil.  There is no good reason for failing to answer God's call (cf. Luke 14:16-24).  As He did with Moses, the Lord has clearly shown us who He is, what His plan is, and what He expects us to do.  Let us answer as Samuel did, "Speak, for your servant hears."

 
God is Calling Yet!
(VBS Theme Song)


Jesus calls us still to follow Him, just like He did four fishermen.
It matters not who you might be, He simply says, "Come follow Me!" 

Jesus called Saul upon the road, although he'd kicked against the goad,
Let us like Saul the gospel share, and take God's message everywhere.

God calls us still His truth to tell, just like He asked of Samuel.
We must correct our friends in love, so all may please our God above.

God calls us still to fight for Him, just like He called brave Gideon.
Let us have faith His way is right, and that He'll help us win the fight! 

God is calling us to do His work.  Make no excuse or try to shirk!
Study His Word and you will see, God calling yet for you and me! 

CHORUS: 
God is calling, calling yet. God is calling, let us heed His pleading voice.

  

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