SUMMONED

prairie coneflower - blanket flower - black-eyed susanListen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! [Deuteronomy 32:1-3 (NLT)]

My granddaughter recently received a summons to jury duty. Although she attended law camp last summer and just might do better than some jurors, at fourteen, she’s not qualified to serve. Trying to get her out of jury duty, however, appears to be easier said than done. Because the grand’s birth date is “invalid,” the on-line juror qualification questionnaire cannot be completed. Her mother’s call to the clerk resulted in being told that the youngster must come to the court house to prove her age by presenting them with her driver’s license. When it was politely pointed out that at fourteen she has no license, the clerk irately asked why she got the summons. “I don’t know; you’re the ones who sent it to her!” was all her mother could reply. Let’s hope jury duty is an excused absence from junior high because it appears that the district court does not want to take “No!” for an answer.

When God summons us, He doesn’t take “No” for an answer either. Moses was sure it was a mistake when God called to him from that burning bush. He protested by listing all of his inadequacies and God countered with His assurances and provision. In his final objection, Moses claimed to be an inarticulate tongue-tied speaker so God gave him Aaron to act as his spokesman.

Aaron, however, died before the Israelites reached Canaan and, in the book of Deuteronomy, we finally hear Moses speak. In his first speech (lasting four chapters), Moses gives an historical review of what brought the people to be standing on the plains of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. An articulate powerful account, it’s as inspiring as one of Billy Graham’s sermons. The next thirty chapters are equally moving as Moses summarizes the Israelites’ covenant obligations and blessings.

To the county clerk, my grand was merely a name and address but, as the one who made us, God knows everything about us. He knows our weaknesses and capabilities and, unlike government bureaucracy, His summons is never in error. God knew what He was doing when he called Moses and He knows what He’s doing when He summons us. Where we see liabilities, inability, inadequacy and failure He sees assets, possibility, ability, and promise.

I can’t help but think of A.A. Milne’s Christopher Robin and the words he spoke to his bear, Winnie-the-Pooh: ”There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” Indeed, we are braver, stronger and smarter than we think and more capable than we can imagine. Moreover, like Christopher Robin, God is always with us. It is His faithfulness to us that empowers us to do His work.

When God puts a calling in our hearts, He won’t leave us stranded. He equipped and enabled Moses with wisdom and oratory skills and He’ll equip us. Moses’s final speech in Deuteronomy (ending with both a song and a blessing) rivals any motivational message given by Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, or Bear Grylls. When you doubt your abilities, remember that those eloquent words in Deuteronomy were spoken by a man who, because of his stammer and ineptitude at oration, considered himself unqualified. God knew better!

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. [Deuteronomy 31: 8 (NLT)]

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