The 'Call of God' does not originate with man - his thoughts, feelings, emotions or desires. It is primarily a Divine act. It has its source in God Himself - His thoughts, His plans and His purposes. No denomination, organisation or system of religion can produce the call of God. Correct training and education does not produce it. Although a specific environment may aid it, it cannot produce it. No great leader, preacher or prophet can impart it.
We learn from the story of Elijah and Elisha, that Elijah could not impart the call of God or the anointing of God to Elisha but only confirm it, aid it, instruct it and encourage it.
We learn from Christ calling the 12 disciples that it was a personal distinct call by Christ Himself, primarily to be with Himself, and then to proclaim Him in all His fullness.
We learn from the call of the many prophets like Amos, David, Moses, and others that God can prepare a man for His call in the sheepfold, farm, desert or in fact the most unlikely of places. When man calls himself he scans the horizon for the best of training, the biggest sphere, the most influential of fellow students, the most promising prospect and will do all in his power to get to the most advantageous position possible.
But when God calls He often (though not always) looks for the hottest desert, the most isolated mountain, or the most monotanous common of jobs in order to train his best servants.
We learn from Moses and Saul of Tarsus that God does at times does choose the wise, noble and strong for His own call, but all their learning will be ashes and dung at their feet by the time they stand as the oracles of God.
God has ordained that although He uses ALL who follow Him, He does set certain vessels apart who will usually leave nets, staff and manual labour to be of service to Him exclusively.
As with Jonah the true call of God may not be according to man's thoughts or man's liking. Jonah did not like his God-given call to Nineveh. Neither is the call of God always understandable. Jonah must have asked, 'Why a call to the enemies of God's people? Why not a call to some town or village of Israel?'
The true call of God can be disobeyed. Jonah ran from the Word of God and the call of God. We are even told that he fled "from the presence of the LORD." Every time he stood in God's presence he was confronted br God's call. Although he was not living his life in disobedience to the Lord's written Word he was living in disobedience to the personal revealed will of God. Jonah first "went down to Joppa" (the opposite way). Then "down" into the boat at Joppa where he found the lowest place in the boat and fell asleep. And last of all "down" into the belly of the whale. What a cure for disobedience.
A last thing about the call of God is that it is persistent. It won't let you go. It won't give you peace. It won't allow you an excuse. It will follow you, invade your thoughts, your feelings, your plans and even break in and shatter your own desires. This reveals the determination of the One who calls. His call is no passing thought but a Divine determination.
With Jonah now cured we are told "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time," (3:1). Thank God for His mercy. Many a man has tried to struggle out of the call of God who was later glad that the Lord pursued and persevered with him. Moses thought he had messed up the call of God resulting in living in the backside of the desert 40 years. I wonder if he ever thought 'Surely the Lord will never use me now.' I wonder if during those 40 years if he had to struggle with many a thought of failure until he met the Lord at the burning bush. What a call.
The Lord always has to work on the man to make him fit the call. Jonah needed the chastening work of God. Moses needed the refining work of God. Then they were willing and ready to go.
So when the call of God came a second time to Jonah he "arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD." The call of God is nothing more or less than acting on the word of the Lord. If He calls, you must go. If He calls, He will provide. If He calls, He will go with you, before you and behind you.
But if you ever go and run according to your own thought, desire or imagination the Lord will not be found in the calling when trials, trouble, terror and testing's come. A man only holds fast to the call, and in the call because of the Lord. How impossible for a man to continue if not called and yet there are so many who are going, running and preaching who were never called.
Maybe such men find it easier to go when not called than those who are truly called! Amazing how so many who want to go are not called and so many who do not want to go are called!
Just a few thoughts on the precious call of God.