God is the Initiator
The story of salvation, God had commenced it himself. He explained the means by which it should be implemented when He said that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the Serpent. (Gn 3:15)
God also is the one who prepared the Virgin which
will give him birth. He is the One who sent her
Archangel Gabriel preaching her that she will conceive
in her womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His
name JESUS. And when she said "I do not know a
man", the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy
Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the
Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that
Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of
And God also prepared the "messenger before His
face, Who will prepare His way before Him"(Mk 1:2).
And sent an Angel to preach Zacharias the priest and
said about John that he will "be filled with the Holy
Spirit, even from his mother's womb." (Lk 1:15).
And because He intended in his incarnation to be
"the Son of David, the Son of Abram" (Mt 1:1), He
prepared Abram and prepared David…
As in one day that Abram did not know and did
not even wait for, the voice of God came unto him, as
sudden as that, saying "Get out of your country, From
your family And from your father's house, To a land
that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I
will bless you And make your name great; And you
shall be a blessing… And in you all the families of the
earth shall be blessed." (Gn 12:1-3).
And in one of those days, which David did not
even know about, and did not wait for what was going
to happen on, David was called to the house of his
father as he was pasturing the few little sheep in the
wilderness. And there was Samuel the prophet "Then
Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the
midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD
came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel
arose and went to Ramah" (1S 16:13).
In this way, God has prepared for the story
of Nativity thousands of years ago…
He prepared them, and characterized them with
virtues till "when the fullness of the time had come"
Abraham and David didn't ever dream, thought or
even worked for the fact that they would be the
grandfathers of Jesus. John the Baptist also didn't
ever dream of being this messenger who will prepare
the road in front of Him, and who will be the one who
baptizes the Lord. Virgin Mary didn't ever think that
she will become a mother; she became the mother of
the Savior of the world…!!
But God is the one who wanted, who commenced
in implementing this plan, from the point when Adam
and Eve fell into sin, till "when the fullness of the time
had come"… God Himself is the one who prepared the
"fullness of time" and set its timing.
And when "the fullness of the time had come",
God has already prepared everything concerning
the Divine Incarnation. He prepared prophesies
and symbols, in the Law, the prophets and the
He prepared that He will be conceived by a virgin,
and shall be called Immanuel (Is 7:14).
And that "the government will be upon His
shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful,
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace."(Is 9:6). And that He will be born in
Bethlehem Ephrathah (Mic 5:2), (Mt 2:5). Prophesies
had mentioned His arrival to Egypt (Is 19:1), and his
sufferings in details (in the story of salvation) as
mentioned in (Is 53). (Ps 22).
God is who commenced the reconciliation, as
in the Incarnation in general and as well in the
individual reconciliation with every person…
He is the one who led the Samaritan woman, who
had fallen into sin, to faith and repentance, when He
chose to meet her at the well, and talked to her about
the everlasting water, worshipping God truly in soul,
and brought her to confessing her sins… (Jn 4).
God is the one Who led Zacchaeus the chief tax
collector to repentance. And said to him "for today I
must stay at your house" and said also "Today
salvation has come to this house, because he also is a
son of Abraham" (Lk 19:5-9).
The Samaritan woman had never dreamt of
repentance and salvation, neither had
Zacchaeus dreamt that Jesus Christ might come
into his house. It is God who started all this.
The same happened with Saul of Tarsus who was
"breathing threats and murder against the disciples of
the Lord" "bring them bound to Jerusalem" (Ac 9:1,
2)… Saul who said about himself "although I was
formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent
man" (1Ti 1:13) and also said "For I am the least of
the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an
apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."
Calling Saul to repentance started with him when
suddenly a light shone around him from heaven on
his way to Damascus, and he heard a voice blaming
him and saying "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting
Me?" (Ac 9:4). God had commenced all this with Saul
long ago, before he was born, as when Saul said to
himself "But when it pleased God, who separated me
from my mother's womb and called me through His
grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach
Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer
with flesh and blood" (Ga 1:15, 16)…
So God was the initiator with Saul in calling him
into the path of repentance.
So is the call, in its various examples, as
long as the caller is God, definitely the initiator
who commences it is also God himself.
We knew how God called Abraham (Gn 12) and
David (1S 16).
Another clear example is Jeremiah the prophet,
when God said to him: "Before I formed you in the
womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified
you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jr
1:5). Also Moses the prophet, God called him when
he was at the Burning Bush (Ex 3). Neither Jeremiah
nor Moses had ever dreamt that one day they would
become prophets! Moses himself said to God, "O my
Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You
have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech
and slow of tongue." (Ex 4:10). Also Jeremiah said
"Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a
youth" (Jr 1:6).
God's calling was also to Matthew the tax
collector when he was sitting at the tax office and the
Lord said to him, "Follow Me." (Mt 9:9). Also Simon
Peter and Andrew his brother, when they were
casting their net into the sea, God said to them,
"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mt
4:18, 19). The same happened with James the son of
Zebedee, and John his brother (Mt 4:21, 22)… and
also with the rest of the Apostles.
Paul the Apostle explained this when he said: "For
whom He foreknew, He also predestined … whom He
predestined, these He also called" (Ro 8:29, 30). And
said about Priesthood: "And no man takes this honor
to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron
was." (Hb 5:4).
God is the initiator who commences the call to
Priesthood as well as all the issues concerning the
church service. He who said to his Apostles "You did
not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit
should remain" (Jn 15:16).
God's voice reaches whomever God chooses
from among people…
The most important thing is that we
recognize His voice, and respond to it…
God's voice reached Samuel the child; he did not
recognize it at the beginning, and thought that it was
the voice of Eli the priest. But he then finally realized
that it was the voice of God and thus replied: "Speak,
LORD, for Your servant hears." (1S 3:9, 10). He
listened to the message and delivered it.
The same voice reached Saint Anthony through a
verse in the bible in which God says: "If you want to
be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the
poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and
come, follow Me." (Mt 19:20). And he followed what
he heard and lived a life of worshipping. On the other
hand, the Rich Young Ruler who heard that same
verse uttered by Jesus himself, "went away sorrowful,
for he had great possessions." (Mt 19:22). Therefore
how good is what the Apostle said: "Today, if you will
hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the
rebellion" (Hb 3:7, 8).
Saint Anthony, at the beginning of his life of
worshipping, as he was sitting by the river side, he
heard an advice from a reckless woman who told him:
"if you are a monk, then do not stay here, go to the
inner wilderness." He considered these words as the
voice of God, and went and did so…
The most important thing is that we recognize the
voice of God, as Saint John the beloved says in his
first Epistle: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but
test the spirits, whether they are of God; because
many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Herod the king heard the gospel about the
nativity of God from the wise men. He did not
respond to it, "he was troubled, and all Jerusalem
with him."(Mt 2: 3). He then started to think about
tricks and deceits to kill Jesus the child!
And another Herod, after 30 years, heard from
John the Baptist that it is not lawful for him to have
his brother's wife." (Mt 14:3, 4). And he did not
respond to the voice, but put John into prison, and
finally killed him.
Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Priests, heard
the word uttered by Jesus himself more than once.
They did not respond to the voice of God "And the
light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not
comprehend it." (Jn 1:5). "And men loved darkness
rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Jn
3:19). They all harvested the consequences of their
refusal and were miserably destroyed…! Also
Jerusalem which Christ mourned and said "O
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets
and stones those who are sent to her! How often I
wanted to gather your children together, as a hen
gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not
willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate" (Mt
God was He who commenced, he started by
himself for the sake of their own salvation but he did
not force them to accept salvation. That is how they
were lost, for they did not accept this salvation… And
thus the Lord mourned this city saying "because you
did not know the time of your visitation" (Lk 19:44).
Brother, God might call you at any time, and
his voice might reach you.
May be you will hear His voice while reading the
bible, hearing the Gospels, praying Psalms prayer, or
listening to the Liturgy Prayer. You might also hear
his voice during visiting a patient, seclusion, from a
preacher or at any time. And as the bible says that
"The kingdom of God does not come with
observation" (Lk 17:20). But it will definitely come.
The most important thing is to recognize it,
acknowledge it and respond to it. Do not be like the
virgin of the song who said "It is the voice of my
beloved! He knocks" (Sgs 5:2). And despite that she
did not open the door for him at once. He was the one
who started, and she was the lazy one. That’s why, at
the end, she said sorrowfully "I opened for my
beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was
gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought
him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he
gave me no answer" (Sgs 5:6).
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