Both an Inward and Outward Call are Necessary

Pentecost 25 Sunday

Exodus 3:1

“Moses was shepherding the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest in Midian.”

Mark well what this chapter teaches about Moses’s call. For no one is to sneak into a public office without God’s call. Know this for the sake of the fickle spirits who make inroads and sneak in although God has not called or send them there. They want to be preachers and teach the people without a request and a call, Jeremiah 23:21. Prior to his call, Moses, in his spirit, had desired his brethren’s deliverance from the house of their servitude in Egypt, as he had spirit and courage enough to kill the Egyptian, as we read in Exodus 2:11-12. By this act, he was basically saying: “I think I should help you.” And God does not punish Moses for it, as Stephen praises this murder in Acts 7:25, saying, “but they did not understand.” At the same time, Moses does not want to undertake this leading out of Egypt unless God first calls him and sends him to the children of Israel. For it is not enough to boast of the Spirit; God also does not want us to believe those who claim and say: “Believe my spirit.” Or those who say: “The Spirit urges me; the Spirit tells me.” Otherwise, we would all stand in one group and no one could understand the other. Where God calls, however, and urges you to the preaching office, there the work is carried out and has an impact. Just like God here is carrying out a major work which drives Moses into desperation, that he should lead such a great people out of such a mighty kingdom, so that he says: “What am I compared to such a king? I am, to be sure, a fine, pretty, handsome fellow.” But it is of no avail. “Moses,” God says, “you be bold, pray, and be confident; I will harden Pharaoh so that he will resist; but I will do all the more signs by you, so that you might be certain that I have called you to do this work.” For if you want to start something new, do not bring with you the boast that the Spirit has put it into your heart. If someone brings this confidence and boast, go right ahead and reject that person. For, in the first place, we are to do as follows: If the Holy Spirit wants to use me for an office, whatever it may be, and if God wants me to undertake it, and I am intent on doing it, it will turn out that the signs follow, as God confirms the sending and undertaking by heavenly signs. For this is confirmed that the Spirit will not inflate or stir someone’s heart without prior signs; there must be some outward proof. This is the inward call. The other call is divine as well, but it takes places by means of humans. The inward call happens by God alone, without any intermediaries; and this call must have outward signs and testimonies. The outward call does not require any signs. E.g., I would never be preaching here at Wittenberg if God had not forced me to do it and the elector of Saxony had not demanded it of me. This is how it is also with others…Here God urges by means of people, and here too is God’s command that the Holy Spirit calls me and says, Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”…This
commandment applies to all, to me and to you. If this commandment lays hold of me and I am confronted with it, I cannot resist, unless I wanted to resist to the point of losing God’s grace. While this call is by means of humans, it is confirmed by God.

St. Louis ed., 3:720-721.

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