The responsibilities given to us may be so clear that we know exactly what He has told us to do, and the way He wants us to do it. Sometimes, however, we need discernment to understand the responsibilities and the best way to do what we are called to do. The responsibilities that are well known to us we will refer to as “clear calling,” and those that we do not know, we will refer to as “unclear calling.”
In the clear calling, God shows us specific work to do. In the unclear calling, God will often use others to confirm what He is asking us to do. Sometimes we will not have a clear calling, but we will sense a burden to go. This unclear calling may need the confirmation of the church, leaders around us, or persistent leading from the Holy Spirit.
Gideon’s story in Judges chapter 6-8 gives us a great picture of a clear calling from the Lord. In Judges 6:14 God called Gideon and gave him an assignment to save Israel.
Gideon’s calling was specific and clear. The instruction was straightforward – go save Israel from the hands of the Midianites. When God gives His servant a clear calling, He does not expect excuses, but an acceptance in obedience.
Why was God specific and clear in the calling of Gideon at that time? Because Israel was undergoing difficult times of frustration from their enemies and they had no leader. God wanted to save His people from their enemies, and therefore, He had to raise up a leader for them.
After his call, Gideon was given 300 men chosen from an army of 32,000. In the clear calling, the assignment may seem impossible, but God gives us the design of operation to bring glory to His name and bring victory to His people.
Prophet Jeremiah’s situation was also a clear calling in which he was to show the nation of Judah direction as a process of restoration to the Lord their God. This was at the time when Judah was being affected by the three great super powers: Assyria to the north, Egypt to the south, and Babylon to the east. Judah’s kings could not save them from the oppression of their enemies.
In His assignment, God made it clear to Jeremiah that He knew him. We see that God began a relationship with Jeremiah in his mother’s womb, and that He appointed him for this task before he was born. Our relationship with God begins early, before our birth, and if we want to know exactly what God wants us to do, we have to go and ask Him (cf. Jer. 1:5).
Jeremiah suffered on account of his calling, but still he prophesied because he had a clear assignment. He grew weary when the people would not heed God’s direction, but he still pursued his calling and spoke the truth, even when it threatened to destroy his life.
Why does God give a clear calling?
- God gives a clear calling when the matter is urgent. In the account of Jonah and the capital of Assyria, Nineveh, He was going to punish the city and they needed repentance to save themselves. God is merciful to people. He gives a clear and urgent call for Ministers to save His people.
As we see political instability within nations and a decline in morals, we can be assured that God will raise up people and give them clear calling so they can be a voice that will bring restoration to the nations.
- God is love and does not want anyone to perish. In His love, God chooses individuals and uses them to save others, chooses them to reach out to others. Did He not raise up Moses and send him into Egypt to save the children of Israel, a people in bondage? Think of Peter the apostle. God spoke to him in a vision, and then sent him to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. God, in His love, will send you to go out and reach others who are perishing.
- God answers prayer (Jer. 33:3). When people cry out to the Lord and ask for His help, He responds by raising someone to come and help. He did that with Moses on behalf of the children of Israel in Egypt, and He did that with the Judges whenever the children of Israel went astray and were suffering.
God has a purpose. In His divine purpose, God will raise individuals to execute His plan. As a minister who has said “Yes” to his calling, be ready for the assignment He may give you today. When He says “Go,” stand up and go. There is no excuse, because even in your excuses, sometimes you may be forced to go painfully like Jonah.