Can You Hear Me Now?
Matthew 22:14 Many are called, but few are chosen.
Isaiah 6:5-8 So I said [after encountering the glory of God]: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Philippians 3:13b-14 …forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Two questions: How can we hear the call of God? And, if many are called but few chosen, does that leave us with hope that we can be among the chosen?
The longer the author lives, the more he sees that there is a certain way of thinking, popular among many of God’s people, that is simply wrong. Any version of “Whatever God wants is what ends up happening” is unbiblical and misguided. There have been too many that have started well and finished poorly, or even disastrously. There are many who were climbing the spiritual mountain of their lives well until they found a nice place on the side of the mountain, and then camped out there the rest of their lives. Many anointed folks have simply put their anointing aside for one reason or another and have lived “nice Christian lives” without entering in to everything God had for them. Worse, some have opened a door to the enemy and have seen promise turn into calamity.
In the famous Matthew 22 scripture quoted above, the context is a wedding feast to which many were called but few ended up attending. They heard the invitation with their ears, but their hearts were unresponsive. Many were called, few were chosen.
In fact, God’s words and invitation are going out every moment, but can we hear them? Isaiah’s theophany seems to carry the key to really hearing. A live coal from an altar (we assume an altar of sacrifice) touches his mouth and “[his] iniquity is taken away, and [his] sin purged.” After this, Isaiah shares one of the most profound experiences in his life, and a profound lesson for us all: he heard the voice of the Lord. The phrasing implies that God was already speaking, but that Isaiah couldn’t hear him until he’d been cleansed. It wasn’t that “God spoke and said”; it was that Isaiah could hear him now.
How do we “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling…”? One way is by hearing God and moving in what He says. We need to live a life of repentance, staying close to God and the precious blood of Jesus. Isaiah was convicted of his sinfulness because he had received a clear view of the Lord. As we keep Him clear before us, by praying, reading His word, loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, and obeying what we know to obey, we are pressing in. As we allow conviction of sin and receive His forgiveness, our spiritual ears open and, like Isaiah, we can begin to hear what He’s been saying to us.
Prayer: Father, I want to live with fresh words from Your Spirit to my soul. I want to be close enough to you to see my constant need of You, and I want to receive all You have for me in Christ. I believe that as I press in to You, I am pressing forward.