Double-Calling

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, October 8, 2015
(Exodus 3:4) And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. God's doublings imply something weighty, as when God doubled a dream to Pharaoh (GEN 41:32) or when Jesus said, “Verily, verily...” (JOH 5:24-25, et. al.). There were various occasions in Scripture when God issued a double call and the response it generated was noteworthy. One such occurrence was in EXO 3:4 when God wanted Moses' attention for a great work He had in store for him (today's text). Another time was when God was calling Samuel to be the prophet who would transition Israel from a Mosaic emphasis to a Messianic emphasis: “And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1SAM 3:10). Near the end of our Lord Jesus' public ministry, He put Simon Peter on notice: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (LUK 22:31-32). Peter responded, “...Lord, I am ready to go with thee...” (LUK 22:33). Although his weak flesh soon got the best of him, his spirit was willing. Later, Jesus got Saul of Tarsus' attention to prepare him for apostolic duty: “...Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me...” (ACT 9:4). Saul's response was, “...Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?...” (ACT 9:6). Each of these double-callings generated a positive, submissive response and those men went on in service to God with blessing. Paul would later say of dedicated ministers, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (1TI 5:17). There was, however, one double-calling which did not follow this pattern. In the days of the O.T. prophets, Jerusalem was called to repentance with, “O Jerusalem...” (JER 4:14; JER 6:8; JER 7:29; JER 13:27, etc.). But when she was about to fill up her iniquity in the rejection of Messiah, Jesus' call to the city was doubled: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...” (MAT 23:37). This double-calling generated no positive, submissive response which would be a harbinger of good things to come. No, what was coming for Jerusalem was terror and abandonment by God. In fact, the judgment had already been handed down because of long-standing rebellion against God: “...your house IS left unto you desolate...” (MAT 23:38-39). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...” was not a double-call to duty but a double-pronouncing of verdict. Hundreds of years before Christ, the great imperial city of Babylon had “maxed out” its sinfulness, having outlived its usefulness as a chastening rod in God's hand (as had the Assyrian power earlier, ISA 10:5-19). God wrote Babylon's sentence, “...MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN...” (DAN 5:25), and “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it...” (DAN 5:26-28). There was no dark double-meaning about the double-MENE; God was emphasizing the certainty of an already determined judgment. Accordingly, it was elsewhere prophesied, “...Babylon is fallen, is fallen...” (ISA 21:9). Spiritual Babylon shares this double-stated fate (REV 18:2), and it is expressly pronounced, “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double” (REV 18:6). Sometimes sinners who have as yet felt no judgment for their sin will “double down” on their sinfulness. They are such as Solomon described, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (ECC 8:11). They perceive not that their uninterrupted season of sin is not a cosmic sign to be exploited but rather an opportunity to repent. Paul warned plainly against this: (ROM 2:4) Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (ROM 2:5) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Continued rejection of plain single-calls to repentance (“Because I have called, and ye refused...” [PRO 1:24]) will not result in a double-call to duty and subsequent blessing but a double-call of judgment already decided. God gives sinners a “...space to repent...” (REV 2:21) after which a door may be shut to them so that they find themselves in the company of Esau, who “...found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (HEB 12:17). The judgments which follow are sudden and irremediable: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (PRO 29:1). In the day of Christ, many who refused His commands while playing at religion will protest, “...Lord, lord...” (MAT 7:21-22) but their double-call upon the name of the Lord will not impress Him. Jesus went on to say, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (MAT 7:23). All sinners who are successfully brought under conviction with the gospel have received a double-call. They have been called to life effectually by the voice of the Son of God (JOH 5:25) which renews them inwardly. By this new birth of inward quickening, God's law is written in their hearts and their consciences bear witness (ROM 2:14-15). This new life fits them for the outward call of the gospel to repentance (ACT 17:30) so that when their hearts are pricked by the preached word and the word is received by them in faith, their response should be similar to “Here am I” (EXO 3:4). It is, “...what shall we do?...” (ACT 2:37). The obvious first answer to their query is, “...Repent...” (ACT 2:38) and “...turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (ACT 26:20). A life of service with blessing is in store for those who submit and continue to submit to Christ.

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