The Calling

The contemporary church puts a good deal of emphasis on “your calling.” We often hear from the pulpit exhortations about “finding your calling” or “knowing your calling.” There are seminars about how to find your calling. There are so-called, and often self-proclaimed, modern day “prophets” who pick people out of the congregation and prophesy over them of their great calling before the masses. While these proclamations and exhortations may be well-intended, they also may be missing the point. There is a sweet simplicity in the Lord’s calling that has to do with your relationship with God. Finding your “calling” starts with understanding that you first are called by the LORD most high and moves from there.

The book of Leviticus in Hebrew is translated Vayikra. It means “He Called.” Exodus leaves off with Moses unable to enter the Tabernacle “because the cloud (of God’s glory) remained on it, and the glory of God filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:35).” Leviticus begins with God’s glory in the tabernacle and the LORD calling Moses to come forward. The language is one of being summoned, beckoned, a tender invitation of love and friendship. Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, in his book Covenant and Conversation, puts it, “In love, God calls the people of Israel to come close to Him, be regular visitors to His house, to share in His quality of holiness, difference, apartness: to become, as it were, mediators of His Presence in the world.”

Leviticus is often referred to as the Book of Sacrifices because it describes the various offerings made before the LORD at the Tabernacle. Leviticus is the English translation from the Greek and Latin meaning- “Matters concerning the Levites.”  In the Western mindset, we may look at Leviticus as transactional—that sacrifices had to be made to please God. Vayikra, the Hebrew title of the book, however, is descriptive of a more relational than transactional bond with God. From Genesis, beginning with our divine origin and the tragic fall, to the Exodus and the liberation from bondage by the Blood of the Passover Lamb; and the Torah given at Sinai and the building of the Tabernacle where the blood sacrifice was established; to Vayikra/Leviticus, it is revealed that the people are called to draw near to God through sacrificial rites.

The ultimate offering of God’s calling was accomplished by the High Priest of the New Covenant, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 8:6-7 explains, “he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” 1 John 2:1 confirms, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” In Christ, we are saved and called according to his purpose and grace. 2 Peter 1:5-7 outlines the attributes of those who are called: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. Verse 10 exhorts us to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” You see, our calling is the fruit of accepting God’s calling to us. Our calling is found in our relationship with Him.

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Bill Wilson