In the beginning of the book of Numbers, God gives Moses, by name, twelve individuals to be heads of the ancestral tribes of the Israelites. It is interesting to think about what this moment and these individuals were like at that time in the history of Israel. Were they already influential in the community and well-respected? Were they young and inexperienced, but on the track to leadership? Or were they living in relative obscurity, with qualities that God alone could see and develop? We’ll never know this side of eternity, but it’s fun to speculate and wonder as you allow the Bible to come alive in and to you.
Today, I would seriously question if anyone claimed to hear God speaking to them as directly and audibly as with Moses, the prophets, or Paul. But we do hear God’s voice in other ways through reading His word, pastoral preaching, and sometimes just in the quiet of our minds, He steers and guides our thoughts, driving us back to His word and teaching us the way we should go. Sometimes the spoken word of a friend, or a line in a song or movie may strike straight to the heart of something that God has laid on our hearts. It is rarely as clear as in the days of Moses, and often takes time to discern God’s ways. But if we search for wisdom, remain attentive, and draw near to God through His Word, we can begin to discern His voice.
It is not always easy to know if a decision or course of life we have set out on is right until much later when we see it in retrospect. But it is comforting to know that even when it seems like we make “mistakes” in putting all the pieces of the puzzles of our lives together, God is still the one who is in ultimate control. It is comforting to know that we can never “mess up” God’s plans or catch Him off guard. We can easily feel like our lives are in shambles because the picture the puzzle is revealing as the pieces come together is not matching our preconceived ideas of what we thought our lives should look like. But I think that we would find that through our struggles, God works to develop, in us, qualities and history that are essential to situations He prepares us for in later times.
When the time comes that we feel called by God to a specific purpose, we need to follow through and listen to His voice. It may not make sense to everyone around us, but if guided by sound Biblical teaching and a clear word of God that is supported in scripture, then we can do nothing but humbly submit in obedience. As we step out in faith, our path is either confirmed or halted as God opens and closes the doors of opportunity that are placed before us.
Wherever we are, God will use us to one degree or another. If anyone does not know God, or is otherwise living their lives for themselves, they become merely objects to be used by God to develop those who have accepted or will accept the calling and election He has placed on their lives. In the same way that Pharaoh was used by God as an instrument for God’s wrath and to make His power known, those individuals will live only as instruments in God’s hands (Ro 9:17).
Anyone, however, who humbly obeys and accepts God’s calling on their lives has eternal blessings and glory waiting to be revealed.