Lord, Send Me

Saul was persecuting the early church.  Acts 8:3 “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”  He obtained letters from the high priest to the synagogues of Damascus Acts 9:2b-5 “so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.  Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’  And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’”  Saul later told what more Jesus said to him.  Acts 26:16 “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you 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.” Saul, later called Paul, was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but became a powerful preacher of the gospel.

You and I are also called to serve God.  I do not think you will receive a calling like Saul did when he received a direct vision from Jesus.  But there is also work for you to do.  You can try to run away from the Lord and His calling like the prophet Jonah did.  Jonah 1:1-6 “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came to him, and said to him, ‘What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.’”  Jonah surmised that the tempest was from the Lord.  Verse 12 “And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’” The mariners threw Jonah into the sea and the Lord prepared a great fish that swallowed Jonah; he was in the great fish for three days and three nights.  When the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land, he went and preached to Nineveh as the Lord had instructed him. Just like with Jonah, It doesn’t do any good for you to run away from God, because He is everywhere and sees everything.

Maybe when you receive a calling from the Lord you don’t run away, but instead you make excuses as to why you shouldn’t obey Him.  That is what Moses did when he was first called by the Lord.  He didn’t think that the Israelites or the Egyptians would listen to him, so the Lord gave him miraculous signs to prove that he was sent by the Lord. But that wasn’t enough for Moses.  Exodus 4:10-15 “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’ But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.’ So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: ‘Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.’” Moses made excuses why he didn’t want to go do as the Lord was sending him. The Lord became angry with Moses because he kept making excuses.  The Lord has the power, and He can give us the abilities we need.  He gave Moses the ability to perform miracles and to convince Pharaoh to let the people leave Egypt.  I don’t think that the Lord will give you miraculous signs, but he can give you the ability and the power to do what He asks you to do.

Jesus taught against making excuses.  Luke 14:16-24 “Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

I encourage you to not run away from the Lord nor to make excuses for not doing as He calls you to do.  Instead, be like the prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’  Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’”  You should love the Lord and do as He calls you to do.  Trust in Him.  He has the power. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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