AT PEACE WITH THY CALLING (by
permission; chp 5 from Ray Prinzings Book - Whispers of His Call)
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: " that no flesh should glory in His presence." [1 Corinthians 1:26-29].
"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election ( choosing)
of God." [1 Thessalonians 1:4].
"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." [John 15:16].
These three passages of scripture provide a tremendous foundation for the thoughts in this chapter. To know that we have been CALLED, chosen, marked out by God for His purposes. A calling that does not spring out of the will and emotions of man, but from the heart of God. He would draw us into that upward ascent; to rendezvous with Him in Zion; to be filled with His fullness, that our state of being might be to His praise. The processes of this calling often are so intense, working so deeply as He applies His cross to our self-life, that betimes the flesh might truly wish the call had been placed upon someone else. But there is a working in our spirit of that totalness of our surrender to Him, until we are "at peace with our calling."
The initial action is always from God to us! It was "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Indeed, it was while "we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." [Romans 5:8, 10]. Which lends strong emphasis to the fact that our choosing and calling is OF GOD, for we were in no position to choose Him. Just as when Saul was putting all the energy he had into persecuting those of "THIS WAY" that God came to him, "a light from heaven." [Acts 9:3]. The transformation was the in working of God, not the result of any self-effort. That no flesh could glory in itself.
Perhaps the severity and intenseness of God's calling and purging find no greater illustration than in the life of Job, so let us consider:
"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." [Job 1:1].
This is one of the most amazing introductions to a man, a brief account of his name and his character. The name "Job" literally means: hated, and thus, to be persecuted. It comes from an Hebrew root meaning: to hate (as one of an opposite tribe or party). Here is our very first glimpse in the Scriptures of this man, and it begins with the fact that there is one that is hated.
Jesus said, "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Be-elze-bub, how much more shall they call them of His household." [Matthew 10:25]. And again, "They hated Me without a cause." [John 15:25]. He had done nothing worthy of their hatred -- only manifested love and compassion, to heal, to deliver, to bring them hope. Yet they slandered Him, spoke evil of Him, and hated Him without the slightest basis for that hatred.
Long ago Isaiah prophesied, "Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey." [Isaiah 59: 15].
Jesus also told His disciples, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." [John 15:19].
When God chooses and calls you to follow onward with Him, into the deepest aspects of His life, and you obey, you will immediately alienate the sympathy of those around you, receive their condemnation, and become an object of their hatred, because your advance is an evident token, a witness that they are not walking on with God. It is also a witness against them that they cannot satisfy your inner desire for reality. Because you are not "of them," nor able to run with them in their riotous excess in the world, nor play their games in the religious realms, they will turn and hate you.
Jesus warned, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household. (Yet) he that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me." [Matthew 10:36-38].
So often a husband, or wife, has found that when Christ begins to draw them out of the world, unto Himself, their mate will turn against them, because suddenly they have been replaced-- with someone who appears to give them more satisfaction than they do. Little does the world yet realize that the more Jesus Christ becomes first in anyone's life, the more love and blessing that person will have to offer the very ones that have turned against them.
Again, if you have been a part of a religious institution, or group, and suddenly it all becomes empty and dead to you, and you sense the call of God to follow on into new dimensions of His reality, your brethren will hate you, and cast you out (lsaiah 66:5) and think they have done God a service, while they brand you an heretic, a rebel, a false cult. All because your desire is for more of God, not more of their works, programs, etc. You have done them no harm, they simply hate you without a cause. It is a part of the price of our calling to go on with God-- obeying His call for today.
To have wrong motives imputed to you, and to be numbered with the transgressors. The Psalmist said, "They that hate me, without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head." [Psalm 69:4]. But again, Jesus said, "I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (Yet He also prayed), I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." [John 17:14-15].
How we need to remember this during those times when we wished for some form of escapism, to get away from it all. We are NOT to be taken out of the world, but we ARE TO BE KEPT FROM ITS EVIL. It will redound to the glory of God that He is able to perfect a people in the midst of all this corruption and evil. This darkness serves as a background against which the light shines, and which the light will ultimately conquer. Right and truth shall prevail. Evil shall be abolished, and hatred shall give way to peace and love, but only after God's purposes have been fulfilled. Sin has been allowed to exist for wise ends, and when these ends have been secured, it will cease to exist, while God, and His kingdom, shall be all in all.
But for now, God's apprehended ones are hated by the world, because they are not of the world, being duly CALLED OUT, CHOSEN by His divine selection, and given His Word-- thus to be a part of HIS KINGDOM. This choosing of God immediately places them ON THE OTHER SIDE, hence the world counts them as an enemy, deserving only their hatred.
Next, we read on, that Job was "perfect and upright." This word "upright" signifies a straight walk, without all the devious by-paths of the flesh. This also is a witness against the crookedness of this perverted generation. You do not have to "preach" against them, your very uprightness of living, in their midst, is a strong testimony which reproves them. "The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul." [Proverbs 16:17]. Certainly a man's walk is far more conclusive evidence than all of his talk!
That Job was upright is easily understood, but that he was also said to be "perfect" needs some pondering. The Hebrew word here is "tam" and means: plain, or, undefiled. It does not yet signify ultimate maturity, which can be obtained only after testing, but it does bespeak that he was clean at that time-- that sin did not have dominion over him, which then is explained by the next phrase, that he "feared ( reverenced) God, and eschewed evil."
Some of Job's pious state is revealed in how that after his sons and daughters had made their rounds of feasting and celebrating, "Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their heart." [Job 1:5].
Truly, Job was a godly man, and he desired that all of his family would also live godly lives. He reverenced God, he would make no direct accusation against God, and neither did he want this charge to be on his children, even if it was only "in their hearts"-- and so the offerings were made. His attitude was clear, let there be no cursing of God.
There is also a lesson tucked in this account for all parents to remember. All of Job's many sacrifices on behalf of His children did not avail. You cannot live Christ in your children. It has to be God's sovereign handiwork in them, as it is in you. "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that built it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." [Psalm 127:1]. Yes, we will instruct them, pray for them, and do all that we can to help them have a right attitude towards God, but ONLY HE CAN SAVE THEM.
So Job did all in his power to do. But the time had arrived for the testing and proving of his own integrity. All his uprightness did not spare him from testings. Nor did his love for God exempt him from being fully processed. Neither did all his sacrifices keep calamity away from his door. Blow after blow came upon him. His possessions were swept away. He was stripped of his wealth and all natural resources. Then all of his children were slain. But, "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." [Job 1:22]. He may not have understood why all this had befallen him, but he did FEAR GOD, and would not charge God with foolishness. This clearly implies that Job felt there was divine wisdom behind it all, even if he did not clearly understand what was taking place.
But the end was not yet, for next Job was smitten with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. "And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." [Job 2:8-9].
But Job's fear of the Lord went farther than this, and he answered her, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." [Job 2:10].
We marvel at the understanding of this man. He freely acknowledged that God had control over the interplay of good and evil. And with his own eye single to God, he would receive both good and evil from His hand, and not attribute folly to God. Furthermore, the Scripture declares, in all this he was still telling the truth, for he did not sin with his lips. He had not uttered a false statement-- all came from God's hand. He would bless God for the good, and he would bless God for the evil, he would not "curse Him, and die."
Job's wife did not have this understanding. She was of that other mentality-- do enough wrong, and God will kill you for it. Because that is the attitude of a bestial man, and because men impute all their base emotions to God, they ascribe to Him evilness in wrath, and negativeness in judgments.
How different is David's viewpoint, "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him." [Psalm 103:10-11].
The usual observation of the book of Job is twofold. First, to show that true religion is not base upon selfish considerations-- in answer to the question, "Does Job serve God for nought?" And, secondly, to show that temporal calamities are not always the consequences of sin, as was implied by his three miserable comforters, when one said, "IF thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee." [Job 8:6]. In so many ways, over and over they told him he had to have sinned, else this would not have happened to him, he was only reaping what he had sown. But their accusation was not true, and in due time they had to ask for his forgiveness for it all.
But beyond these two points established in Job, we really see that God is doing much more in the man-- He is perfecting and maturing this one who was "perfect and upright." He was being processed for a PLACE IN GOD which went far beyond anything considered up to that time. It was a very personal in working, dealing with the development of Job's character.
While Job refused to "curse God," as the trial deepened upon him, we find that "After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day." [Job 3:1]. For all of his uprightness and integrity, he did not understand the full plan of God for his life, hence the complaint. But-- to curse the day of his birth, etc. is to curse one's subjection to TIME, and this whole bondage of vanity to which we have been subjected. Methinks we all fall into this character flaw, and thus, likewise we all are being processed until we learn "IN everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." [1 Thessalonians 5:18].
Obviously, "The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope." [Romans 8:20]. All of our struggles against corruption and decay, and the frustration of this world, become a self-evident token that these are not apart of our inner being, but have been imposed upon us from without, for a time. We cannot find contentment in the things of the world, because they are not our life. We did not spring out of the world, we came from God, and were subjected to this tyranny of change and decay for a season. There is also to be a time of full deliverance, which hope we have steadfast in our Saviour.
Job gave quite a discourse on longing for death, even wishing that he had never been born, or at least had died in the womb before ever he saw the light. In utter perplexity he asks, "Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?" [Job 3:23]. There was a purpose which was veiled from Job, else he would not have uttered this. It is another example of our own mixture of truth, and yet lack of understanding. A man might possess deep insight in a certain facet of truth, and yet be totally blind to another which is vitally related to it.
Job acknowledged that it was GOD who hedged in, and he dare not curse God, so he cursed the day of his own birth into this set of circumstances, not comprehending the fact that he was actually complaining against God for apprehending him to this calling and position, and placing him in these deep processings. Yet all of the processing was essential for the rewards which would follow. Job knew nothing of these rewards, nor did he even think he would live to see the day of new life and victory.
There is also a more spiritual application here: Why has God imparted so much light, revelation to me, and then so hidden my way, and hedged me in that I cannot see where I am going, nor have freedom to share this light with many others? But this working is not unusual with God, for we see it also in the life of Joseph.
"Sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that his word ( of release) came; the word of the Lord tried him." [Psalm 105:17-19].
Now we have a peek into the purpose. Impart LIGHT and then hedge them in, so that THE LIGHT WORKS IN THE MAN, tries the man, yes, until the light and the man become one. Or, as we have often stated, until the message and the messenger become one. For truly we are CALLED TO BE THE MESSAGE in away that goes far beyond just speaking the message.
That man's way is hid, is one of the great frustrations of desiring to go on -- because we know not the way. "0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." [Jeremiah 10:23-24].
"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" [Proverbs 20:24].
More than ever, in every advancing dimension as we follow Him, we must heed the Word, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." [Proverbs 3:5-6]. And so we rest in the assurance that while to us, the way is hid, still "the steps of a man are ordered by the Lord," [Psalm 37:23], furthermore, David goes on, "HE delighteth in his way." We might not always be delighting in our way, BUT GOD IS, as He fulfills all the good pleasure of His will, in, and for us. And the more we learn to TRUST HIM, the more we are at peace with our calling.
This is the very crux, critical point, of this facet of truth before us. That even though we may not know the full way set before us, we can know His hand is upon our life; we can know that we are called of God; we can know our election of God; and we can come to terms and have peace with our calling while God works it out to a successful conclusion.
THE WAY IS HID-- therefore a man must walk by faith, faith in God to keep him. If we had the slightest glimmer of light betimes, the natural man in his stubborn will would tenaciously hang in there with sheer grit and determination. But when there is nothing in hand, and nothing in sight, and the whole is hid, even from the reason and intellect, then we are sorely tried, and faith alone must sustain us, adhering to a firm trust m God.
In due time Job came to that committal and resignation, declaring, "Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." [Job 23:8-10].
If anyone had searched desperately for God, obviously Job had done so. He tried to plunge forward-- not there! He would go back-- not there! How often have you been tempted to "go back" into the things you left behind? But you KNOW HE IS NOT THERE-- not for you. He may meet the need of others on that level, but once you have started the ascent upward to Zion, to be a part of God's high procession, you will never find Him in the things behind. Job tried it out in left field, and in the right, but while He knew God was at work, he could not perceive Him, nor clearly see Him. So, settle down, and just know that MY WAY is known unto Him, even if His way is not presently known unto me. We learn to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. "For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him." [Job 23:14]. May this confidence ever be in us!
Sonship has its qualifications-- holiness, perfection, maturity, etc. and all of this is of such a nature that it falls into the realm of the invisible, being of a spiritual nature. We cannot see whether we are making progress, or not, save for those rare moments when God permits us to see that our "action, or re-action" was not the same in a situation, as it was perhaps a few years prior in a like circumstance. But for the most part we simply have to remain committed to Him, trusting, believing that HE will finish His work in us, to His praise and glory.
We do not understand just what it will take to make us a mature son of God, our eyes are veiled from seeing, our understanding is "hedged in," so we begin to curse the circumstances, to fuss and fume, and we need to beware lest this be a complaint against God who has called us to such a place, and ordained this processing which will fulfill His will in us.
"What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?" [Job 6:11]. Do these sound like familiar questions of our own during those times of despair, when natural life does not seem worth living, and spiritual realities seem so far distant and obscure? Ah, then may God help us to not curse the day we were born into His kingdom, apprehended for a place on His throne, chosen to become overcomers by His grace. BE AT PEACE! "Faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it." [1 Thessalonians 5:24].
The probings and ponderings of Job, and his friends, continued, but there was also a strength in Job's faith, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." [Job 13:15]. There was a confidence that "The righteous shall hold on His way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger." [Job 17:9].
Job had longed for death, and it would not come. So he worked his way through all these thoughts, and eventually looked beyond death as an escape from his troubles, and began to think of that greater victory beyond even the grave, assured that the time of his CHANGE would come, when "Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands." [Job 14:15]. He would yet see his God, "Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." [Job 19:27].
The advice of his friends, the sputterings and reprovings came to an end, all their words were spent, and finally the Lord answered Job "Out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me." [Job 38:1-3]. Then follows revelation upon revelation. FACTS which had been veiled from him beforehand, of the scope and magnitude of God's plan of the ages-- so overwhelming it left him speechless.
As the waves of revelation washed over him, and his doubts and fears were gone, in humiliation and shame Job was brought low before the Lord. Why had he cursed the day of his birth? Why had he been so blind that he knew not his calling, nor the means of preparation required to qualify? And he realized that "I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.-- Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." [Job 42:3, 6].
Then the reality of fulfillment came. "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.-- So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning." [Job 42:10, 12].
Twice as much-- a sign of the DOUBLE PORTION, symbolic of the rights of the firstborn. No wonder the fires had burned so hot. No wonder his way had been so hidden, that faith would have to plunge deep into God. No wonder his trust had to be purged of every doubt and flaw. Here was a calling and position which required the utmost. As Oswald Chambers expressed it, "MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST."
Forgive me, Lord, for my cursings! Forgive me for complaining at the travail and exercise which you have given to the sons of men. Yes, forgive me when I fussed about the separations and loneliness of this way. Now I would walk softly before Thee, that Thou might finish in me a work to Thy praise. I would be, I am becoming at peace with my calling.
With eyes He has opened now to see
Of this thy purifying flame,
Remove the shame
Of all thy inward pride and greed,
Till ev'ry need
Is met by sovereign grace and love.
For ev'ry calling hath its score,
No less, no more,
Qualifications He hath decreed,
Its time and speed,
While He doth work within the heart,
Till every part
Is fully fitted for its task.
The choosings are by God alone,
To share His throne
With those in Christ who overcome,
Fill up the sum
Of full surrender to His will --
Quiet and still,
A living witness of His power.
Beholding this, our place in Him,
The earth grows dim,
With present suff'rings counted small,
He is our all;
We cannot curse the day, nor means --
To be at peace with our calling.