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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Forty-Fourth (Called)

I'm sure you have been called many things so far in your life. Hopefully most of them good! This week we're taking a look at this term "called," or "calling," to see what YHWH says about it. I think we're going to find some interesting things, so let's get started!

If you search for the word "called" in scripture, you'll find quite a few results. Some of the results involve naming people, places and things, which may or may not be your first thought when you hear the word "called." For Christians, in general, the term called, or calling, is usually used in reference to a direction they feel they received from YHWH.

It is useful when studying this word to also consider the verses involving naming, because these two aspects of the word are more closely related than we might think on the surface. For example, we find that Eve got her name because she would be the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). So, she was called Eve because she was called to be the mother of all living.

YHWH had a purpose for Eve: to be the one that begins filling the earth (Genesis 1:28). YHWH also had a purpose for Yeshua, whose name means Salvation. Obviously, we know He is our Savior (Luke 2:11), and He fulfilled that purpose with His death. And He will return for us to be with Him for eternity. As we can see, being called something is also being given a purpose, scripturally speaking.

Like we see with anything we speak, names have more power than the world might want you to think. It's portrayed essentially as a novelty, with people looking up their name meanings as just a conversation piece rather than having a true meaning or revealing our purpose. For example, my name means "bright fame." If I search for the Hebrew version of my name however, it means "Help of God." I pray that I can fulfill that purpose!

When we look in Isaiah though, we see that not only can a name be a purpose, it can also be a curse (Isaiah 65:15). In that same verse, YHWH confirms that names have deeper meanings. He says He will give His servants another name, different from those that forsook Him and didn't answer His call (Isaiah 65:11-12). This word for call is the same word used when Adam called his wife Eve.

The particular conjugation of this word in Isaiah 65:12 occurs 25 times in scripture, and the overwhelming majority of the time its context means calling someone to do something. The first time it occurs is when YHWH told Moses He called Betsalel as one of the individuals that would build the tabernacle, and all that was in it, for worship of Him (Exodus 31:2).

If you look at some of the translations of this verse, this word, qarati, is actually translated to "chosen." So, if we put these two discoveries together, what we find is that to be called is to be chosen for a purpose. But, while we have an overall purpose that's associated with the name He gives us, He can also call us to do certain more "discrete" tasks that work to fulfill His will on earth.

For example, YHWH called on the Israelites to take vengeance on the Midianites, and 1,000 from each tribe was sent to war against them (Numbers 31:1-4). While it doesn't say specifically whether or not any Israelites were killed, it seems unlikely to me that all survived an all out battle like this. So, essentially, these men were called to a task from which they may not have returned.

Now, there are extenuating circumstances in this situation where the Israelites sinned against YHWH with the Midianites. So, the deaths of some of the Israelites may have been the consummation of a judgment against them. However, the situation doesn't end there. As this battle was finished, the Israelite commanders apparently failed to follow instructions as they spared Midianite women and brought them back to the camp.

These women were part of the vengeance YHWH called for, as they played a part in causing Israel to sin (Numbers 31:15-16), so as a result, the Israelites were told to kill them (Numbers 13:17). Not only was going to battle to kill all the males of a people a sobering task, killing the women and most of the children must have been one of the hardest things some of these men had to do. But, that's what YHWH called them to do.

When you think about it, that may be the hardest thing anyone would have to do. Christians tend to focus on the possibility of being called to die for Yeshua (Revelation 20:4), but that's your own life you're giving up for Him. What if you were called by YHWH to kill others? We know there will be physical battles at the end of this age and the next (Revelation 19:19,21, 20:7-9). We don't know the exact details of these battles, or if we'll be intimately involved, but we do know there will be deaths as a result of them.

Regardless of what the future holds, we must be willing, able and actually do anything YHWH and Yeshua ask of us. Obviously, this will be a lot easier and we'll be more confident in our actions when we hear the calling physically come from Yeshua in person! But until then, we must listen, test what we hear, and when confirmed it is from Him, follow through. To be clear, I don't believe He will call us to kill anyone, but to claim Them as our Father and our Savior, we are expected to follow Their commands, whatever they may be. And if we are called according to His purpose, He will work things for our good (Romans 8:28).

Shabbat shalom and may YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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