Lesson 3

God's Call

(Daniel 9, Nehemiah 1, Romans 9)
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Introduction: Has God called you? Has He called you to a particular task? I think He has. How can we know if we are called? How can we know if we missed our call? Is there another call if we missed earlier calls? I believe that God calls each one of us to serve Him in some special way. Our study this week is about the calling of God. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Good Timing


    1. Read Daniel 9:24-26. What is 70x7? You didn't expect a math question, right? (490!)


      1. What starts this period and what ends it? (The "word" to restore and rebuild Jerusalem starts the period. It sounds like the end of the period involves the coming of Jesus (the Anointed One) and the second destruction of Jerusalem.)


    2. Read Nehemiah 1:3-6. We can (and have) discussed time prophecy in other lessons. Let's look at a different aspect of this. The title of our lesson is "God's Call." Last week we discussed Nehemiah's prayer and how God used him to persuade Artaxerxes to order the rebuilding of Jerusalem. How do you think calling and prophecy works? Was Nehemiah praying at that very moment because Daniel was given a vision of the seventy weeks ( Daniel 9:24)?


      1. Was Nehemiah born to do the things to fulfill the prophecy?


      2. Was Nehemiah praying because he knew of the prophecy?


      3. Did God simply know all of these things in advance and give Daniel the numbers to fit what God knew would happen?


      4. How do your answers to these questions fit into the idea of God's calling? How do they fit into the idea of human free-will?


    3. Have you ever been in a "Circle-Vision" theater? You stand in the middle and the movie is projected all around you. I view God as standing in the middle of the circle of time. He can look in at any point and what is happening. For that reason, I think that God knew before Nehemiah was born that Nehemiah would be praying about this. Thus, God gave Daniel a vision that would take into account the timing of Nehemiah's prayer. This fits with the idea of free-will.


  2. Good Coordination


    1. Read Romans 8:28. What does this suggest about calling and the actions of God as He is standing in the middle of the circle of time? (God "adjusts" events to bless His people.)


    2. Read Romans 8:29-30. How are we predestined to be like Jesus? (God does not interfere with our free will. He sees who will choose Him and He sent Jesus to live a perfect life on behalf of those who chose Him. This allows us to reach the goal of being justified and glorified.)


  3. Practical Examples


    1. Read Exodus 3:1. Is being a shepherd a calling? (Yes. But, it is a calling that a lot of people have fulfilled.)


    2. Read Exodus 3:2-4. If you know this story, is this the beginning of Moses' calling? (Some may note that Moses previously had a calling in Egypt.)


      1. Could your calling be as dramatic as this one?


    3. Read Exodus 3:5-6. What is the lesson here about being called? (There are several, but the main one is being sure that it is God who is calling you.)


    4. Let's skip down and read Exodus 3:9-10. The Jews were in Egypt hundreds of years. If you compare Acts 7:23 with Acts 7:30, Moses was 80 years old when he was standing at the burning bush. Why is it that God says the slavery of His people "has come to me" after hundreds of years?


      1. Why does Moses receive his call when he is 80 years old?


      2. If you were an outsider looking at all of this, what would you conclude about God? He is slow? He has His own time schedule? He is busy with other matters?


        1. Do these conclusions apply to your call and the solution to problems in your life?


  4. God's Answer


    1. Read Romans 9:14-16. Notice the same kind of question - is "there injustice on God's part?" What is the answer? (No. The Bible tells us that God will have mercy on whoever He wishes.)


      1. Is that how we define "justice?" The king decides who gets mercy and who does not? (That is the opposite of the rule of law. That is injustice.)


    2. Read Romans 9:17-19. If we are simply in the hands of God to do with as He pleases, the Bible asks "why does [God] still find fault with us?"


      1. We don't normally see attacks on the justice of God in the Bible. Why are these questions in Romans? (They reflect what God's opponents say about Him. The Bible wants to give us answers to these kinds of tough questions.)


    3. Read Romans 9:20-21. Is this answer good enough for you? Is it good enough for God's critics? (This is the same answer God gives Job in Job 38. Essentially it is "What do you know compared to Me?" Sit down and shut up!)


    4. Read Romans 9:22-24. Buried in these verses is the answer about God's justice. What is it? (We all deserve death. We all deserve destruction. We all chose sin and death. If God leaves us to our choice, what complaint can we have? Justice for us is eternal death. But, God does not leave us to our just reward, God has shown us mercy.)


      1. How does this work with a guy like Pharaoh? Re-read Romans 9:17-18. Is Pharaoh treated unjustly? (Pharaoh rejected God. Pharaoh deserved eternal death. The fact that God "hardens" the heart of Pharaoh is simply an affirmation of the choices that Pharaoh already made.)


      2. How does this work when we find ourselves in unjust circumstances (slavery, for example) or when we are 80 before we see God's calling? Do we have grounds to complain about God's timing or delay? (The default answer is that we deserve death. God has given us everything. Who are we to question how He does it or the timing of His plans?)


    5. Read Romans 9:30-31. Is God being unfair in the treatment of Israel? They worked to become righteous?


    6. Read Romans 9:32-33. What is the fatal mistake made by Israel? (To pursue righteousness based on works and not based on faith in what Jesus has done for us.)


      1. What does this have to do with our calling and the justice of God? Is the chapter ending raising a new issue? (The entire chapter deals with the same issue - the power of God. We have our concept of how things should be done. We say that hard work brings success. We say that things should be fair and decided by the rule of law. God responds that if we insisted on the rule of law we would all be dead - eternally. God is more than fair. We do not understand all of the calling of God, but He has our best interests in mind.)


    7. Read Numbers 20:7-8 and Numbers 20:10-12. What has Moses done wrong? What is the penalty for his wrongdoing?


    8. Read Deuteronomy 3:25-28 and Deuteronomy 34:4-7. Moses pleads with God to allow him, after all these years of leadership, to enter the promised land. Why does God not allow it?


      1. What do you say about the fairness of God?


    9. Read Jude 1:9 and Luke 9:28-31. Now what do you say about the justice and fairness of God? (God is more than just. He gave Moses more than he hoped for. See Ephesians 3:20.)


    10. Friend, the calling of God in our life sometimes is very clear and sometimes not. At times it may not seem to be fair. But our Lord shows us that He gives us more than justice. He is more than fair. Will you ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to be within you so that God can show you your calling and do great things through you?


  5. Next week: Facing Opposition.

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Lessons on Ezra and Nehemiah

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