“And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” – 1 Samuel 16:12
There is a minister in our church who testifies of how he was called to preach. He tells that he prayed for hours, wrestling with the decision, before he was finally willing to let God have His way. Afterward, he did not plan to tell anyone about his calling, but his wife soon asked him, “Are you called to preach? Because the Lord told me to prepare to be a minister’s wife, and you’re the only husband I’ve got!” The secret was out! That minister eventually became a pastor, and after a number of years of serving the Lord in that capacity, he is now retired. Despite his initial reluctance to answer the call, he says he has greatly enjoyed the privilege of serving God as a minister for these many years.
When God calls someone, it is not a secret for long. Our focus verse is an example of this, as it tells of how God called David to be King of Israel. God announced that David would be the next king through the priest, Samuel. Years before, God had also used Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel’s first king.
In Samuel’s own life, as well, God’s call was no secret. When Samuel was only a child, he was left by his mother to serve the priest, Eli, in the temple. Samuel did not understand when he heard God call, but God used Eli to help him understand (1 Samuel 3:8). In all of these cases, God faithfully revealed His chosen vessel to key leaders at an appointed time.
In the New Testament, we read the account of the dramatic calling of Saul of Tarsus (whom we know as Paul the Apostle). God revealed Paul’s calling to Ananias as well, instructing him to find a man named Saul and pray for his sight to return, “for he is a chosen vessel unto me” (Acts 9:15).
When God calls someone to a particular service, He does not reveal it to just that one. He often makes His will known to many! God is faithful to show His plan to those who are responsible for the Gospel work. He touches the hearts of those He is calling in ways that leave no doubt, though some may resist for a while. And we need not worry that God will change His mind, for His gifts and callings are without repentance (Romans 11:29).
When God calls, we want to respond as Isaiah did, saying, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Then, we can patiently allow the Lord to teach us and lead us in His perfect time and will.