Remember before God Calls You to Act

Who knows your history? And are they a part of your present?

There is probably someone in your life right now—maybe even a few someones—that know a lot about who you are and how you became the person you are today. They know your personality, your typical actions and reactions. They’ve seen you learn, fail, succeed, struggle, and grow. They know your quirks, weird habits, hang-ups, likes, and dislikes. They know your story. 

Now it should be obvious that God is the only one who truly knows you—every moment of your life that was, is, and is to come. While He alone is wholly sufficient for every relational longing we might have, He has also most likely placed people in your life, as He has in mine, who have been a significant part of your journey. 

I think we need that. We need to know there’s someone somewhere who really knows us. Especially in lonely seasons or times of trial. Especially when we’re on the brink of something new or life-changing.

You might be in a new season or time of change in your life now. I’m in some in a few different ways, including parenting teenagers and all that involves—which I’m realizing is a lot. But undoubtedly, you have experienced newness and change throughout your life. Perhaps as you look ahead, you have really clear direction for something new or a change to come. Or maybe you’re stuck, completely content, or flat-out clueless. No matter where you land on that spectrum of knowing where God may be directing you or obeying something He’s asking you to do, perhaps you could take some time to remember your past—even the past of other believers—before you take that next step. 

It’s a model God gave us throughout His Word: taking time to remember before He calls you to act. To remember the roots God has given you specifically, as well as His people more generally, so that when you take that next step, you’ll be prepared and fueled with purpose, focus, and perspective to go forward in God’s will and strength. 

Let’s look at three kinds of calls God put on people’s lives in the Bible and the prompting He gave to prepare them by remembering.

1. The New Call 

In Exodus 3, the Lord appeared to Moses in the hot, crackling flames of the burning bush and told him, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (v. 6). God explained to Moses that He had heard the cry of His people and knew all their suffering, and then He issued a new call to Moses: “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (v. 10).

Don’t rush past the rock-solid reminder that came before the new, high-stakes call. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses knew the accounts of those men. He knew the sovereignty, power, and faithfulness God displayed in their lives and to His chosen people through them. So now even though Moses balked at his ability and worthiness to take his place among those leaders, the very God who was asking him to do this new, huge thing brought some real-life examples to his mind.

There is usually no way to know a new call is coming—because it’s new! But there are some ways we can be ready if it does. First, we can be listening and alert. The best way to do that is by reading and studying the Word, praying, and paying attention to the wise, godly people God has placed in our lives. This is how God frequently speaks, and if we’re not in those places, we probably won’t hear a thing. Second, we can ask God to prepare our hearts and minds. And finally, we can purpose that when and if that call comes, we will remember and respond. We will allow our mighty God to work through our available, obedient lives.

2. The Group Call

Now fast forward through the rest of Moses’ life to see Joshua, Moses’ successor, and the Israelites as they come into the Promise Land and receive a group call. Moses died and Joshua, according to instructions from God Himself, led the Israelites across dry ground in the midst of the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land. After they crossed over, Joshua passed on further instructions from the Lord to place twelve stones—one representing each tribe—as a visual prompt to remember what He has done. Why?

That this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, "What do those stones mean to you?" then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever. (Josh. 4:6–7)

After all that had happened in the wilderness, after all that Moses had taught and instructed them about, after all that they had seen God do, God’s people were finally in the land He had promised to them. The stones would be there to remind not only them, but their children, so that they all would be prompted to live lives of obedience and response. Of course they didn’t always do it. They didn’t always remember, and they didn’t always obey. But God was merciful, not only to bring them to the land, but also to provide a way for them to be reminded of how they had gotten there.

The call to remember is not just for Joshua and the Israelites. The Body of Christ must know and remember the great love and works of God through the ages and teach those to their children. All those seeking to honor God and follow Christ must tell children stories of God’s faithfulness and provision from their own experience and from the Word. 

3. The Call to Persevere

The last kind of call is a call to persevere, from God to Timothy through his father in the faith, Paul. A call to action from a holy God is never easy and often complex, but the One who calls knows that, and He doesn’t ignore us when the carrying out gets hard. While Timothy was called to pastor the church in Ephesus and had a gift from God to carry that out, it was still hard, complex, and wearing. So through Paul, God gave Timothy a time to remember and refresh. Then in that remembering, Timothy also received encouragement and exhortation from someone who knew and loved him.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:6–7)

Does God do the same for us? Does He remind us who He is and who we are because of His mercy to us? Absolutely, through His Word, and hopefully, like Paul and Timothy, through His people. And particularly, He will use those who know you well and will prompt you to remember and then walk alongside in whatever God is requiring or calling you to persevere in.

Are you prepared for a new call? Would you be ready to walk alongside others in a group call to obedience or faith? Might God be calling you to persevere? Then remember. Remember how God has shown Himself in His Word, in your life, and in the lives of those around you. Be prepared through time in His Word, in prayer, and with His people so that when the call comes, you’ll go forward in obedience in His strength. Ready? Then go and serve and lead and care and teach and do all the “ands” that await.

About the Author

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo Fulk desires to know and live God's Word, then teach and challenge other women to do the same. Heidi and and her husband, Dan, live in Michigan with their four children where she leads women's ministries at her … read more …

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