2014-11-22 - Three Men and How They Responded to God
Originally Published 2011-06-04
Today, we will look at three men in the Old Testament who were called by God, and how they responded to that call.
Jonah was summoned by God's call, for a special mission. God told Jonah to "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." (Jonah 1:1-2) Jonah's response was to "run away from God" (Jonah 1:3), and to board a ship sailing in the opposite direction of Nineveh. God intervened by sending a storm and a great whale, to get Jonah's attention and to redirect him on his mission.
Moses was busy tending the flock of his father-in-law, when God called him for his assignment. God told Moses to "Go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:10,) Moses' response was to hesitate. First, Moses claimed that he was unworthy. Then he complained that he lacked authority. Next, Moses expressed reluctance, due to the possible unbelief of his listeners. Again, Moses hesitated by saying that he wasn't a good speaker. Finally, Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Exodus 4:13) God explained to Moses that He would go with him, that Moses could speak in His name, that He would enable Moses to convince his listeners, and that Aaron could speak for Moses. Reluctantly, Moses went to Egypt to address the Pharaoh.
Abraham was called by God to "Leave your country, your people and your father's household, and go to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12-1) God told Abraham that he would "make you into a great nation" (Genesis 12:2) and that "all the peoples on Earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:3) Abraham's response was to follow God's command and to move. Hebrews 11:8 summarizes Abraham's reaction, by saying, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."
Each of these three men responded in different ways. Jonah ran away. Moses hesitated and made excuses. Abraham got up and moved. But God still accomplished what He wanted them to do. The Ninevites heard Jonah's call to repent, and they did. Pharaoh eventually freed the Israelites. And Abraham became the father of the Hebrew nation.
How does God call us today us today? What is he calling us to do? How will we respond?
Richard Moser, Jr
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.