In the world of advertising especially the TV commercials every scriptwriter understands the power of two words. “CALL NOW” To our great annoyance all most all commercials carry phrases like; “Pick up your phone and call now” “the first 100 callers will get a gift” “not available in stores only order by phone” “Limited Offer,” “Call Now, Toll Free, 24 hours a Day” All these action verbs and phrases create rather a false sense of urgency in the mind of gullible customers and force them to act hastily.
We all may have been rushed into action one time or the other and regretted later for foolish purchases or contacts we have gotten ourselves into. There is another kind of call which requires quick and consistent action on your part. I promise you that you will not regret it when you make that call. Down through the centuries many have made that call and were blessed and others have neglected it at their own peril. I am talking about “Calling on the LORD.” Today we will look at when this calling on the Lord began; why we should call on the LORD, and finally the blessings of calling on the LORD? Let’s look at when this calling on the Lord began.
I. THE ORIGIN OF CALLING ON THE LORD:
The phrase calling on the Lord is not a new invention but this kind of prayer has ancient roots way before Christ, David and Moses. The first mention of it occurs in Gen 4:25-26, “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in the place of Abel since Cain killed him. Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to “call” on the name of the LORD.” From this passage we learn that Cain killed Abel, and then he went away from the LORD’s presence, built a city and led a total independent life style. Cain and his seed became corrupt
God wanted to raise a righteous seed so He granted Eve Seth and Seth had a son Enosh. Up until that point people had only known God as the creator of the universe who created everything their eyes could see. Once Enosh was born a group of people began to call on the name of the LORD. While Cain and those who came after him turned away from God these people affirmed their dependence on God by calling on Him. Jim Cymbala says, in his book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Spirit, “In fact, God’s first people were not called “Jews” or “the Children of Israel” or Hebrews.” In the very beginning their original name was, “those who call on the name of the LORD.” Since that time there has always been a group of people who have expressed their dependency on God by calling on the name of the LORD. God is still looking for people who would call on Him but why should we call on Him? Is it for His sake or for our benefit?
II. WHY SHOULD WE CALL ON THE LORD?
Firstly, we should call on the Lord because He is not just a super power that created the whole universe as some would think, but he also cares, hears and responds to our needs when we call on His name. The literal translation of the Hebrew word “Qara” means, “To cry out, to call aloud, to roar, or to implore aid.” Charles Spurgeon once remarked that “the best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anything else but a cry.”
Nothing else touches the heart of God and moves the hand of God more then a loud cry that comes from the heart of his desperate children. Here are a couple of biblical stories of how God was touched by the cry of His children. Remember the story of Hagar the Egyptian maid of Sarah who had born Abraham a son? She was sent out with her very young son into the desert, where she wandered until all the drinking water was over. She put the boy under one of the bushes and began to sob. In Gen 21: 17, we read, “God heard the boy crying and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “God has heard the boy crying.. then he opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.
At a later time in the history of
there was a certain man
whose name was Elkanah. He had two wives one was called Hannah and the other
Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah was barren. Can you imagine the
agony and grief that Hannah had to endure due to her barrenness? On top of that
her rival kept taunting her. That vexed Hannah to no end. Hannah went to the
temple and in bitterness of soul she wept much and prayed to the Lord to an
extent the high priest at that time thought she was fully drunk, so he
confronted Hannah. Listen to her words, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled, I
have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. ..I
have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (I Samuel 1: 1:20) Israel
We knew the rest of the story; God granted her request and gave her a son who grew up to be one of the greatest prophets and leaders in Israel, his name was Samuel which means, “heard of God” These two stories indicate that when your are desperate, it is you who needs to cry out to God even when every one else misunderstands you. When you do that from the sincerity of your heart God will come to your rescue and grant you the desires of your heart.
My grand mother used to warn and encourage me to give my heart to Jesus but just like any seventeen year old I neglected her advice and lived a life of my own. She never gave up on me. She cried out to God for nearly seven years, finally on the day of her funeral I surrendered my life to the Lord. Let’s not give up on our sons, daughters, spouses and grand children. There is hope. When we cry out to the Lord He is able to rescue them from the hands of the evil one.
Secondly, we must call on the name of the LORD because he invites us to call on Him. In Jer 33:2-3, “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” This scripture indicates that God doesn’t want to remain aloof, and uninvolved from his people as a cosmic superpower, instead he wants to be deeply and intimately involve in the lives of people. Therefore he invites us to call on him; and when we call on him he will answer and reveal to us the secrets and the art of living.
Here is another scriptural example. Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me.” This scripture invites us to call on the name of the Lord when we are in trouble. On the contrary when we are in trouble our human tendency is to call on a close friend, a therapist, a counselor, a pastor or if it is an emergency 911. There is nothing wrong in seeking human intervention but may I urge you before you make these human calls to lift up your voice and cry out God for his help?
Who knows God may send you his help much sooner than you expect. No matter whatever your situation may be God is inviting you to call on him. Almost sixteen years ago we had a situation with our eldest daughter. She was then barely two days old, she stopped breathing, thankfully Wilma’s sister noticed it; she shook the baby and she was alright. She had several more stop such breathing episodes We took her to the doctor he said these stop breathing episodes could lead to something called SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He further said that they could do nothing except to monitor the baby by placing an apnea monitor for at least the first six months.
We came back home discouraged but not without hope. After a while we decided not to take the doctor’s advice instead cry out to God for his help. We shared this urgency with several prayer warriors in
. We all
cried out for to intervene and heal her. Six months passed and we never saw
another episode. The doctor was surprised that we never took his advice but he
never asked any question. Now our daughter is sixteen on her way to serve God
this summer with YWAM. Isn’t it amazing; our God is able to help us in our
troubles when we call on Him. India
III. BLESSINGS OF CALLING ON THE LORD
The founding fathers of
were not ashamed to call on
the LORD as they formed the constitution. Here is an excerpt from the prayer
offered by Rev. Jacob Douche at the commencement of First Continental Congress
meeting on Sept 7, 1774. “O Lord our Heavenly
Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who from your throne
behold all the dwellers on earth and reigns with power supreme and uncontrolled
over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech
you, on these our American States, who have fled to you from the rod of the
oppressor and thrown themselves on your gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth
dependent only on you.”
The early fathers new what it was to depend on God and didn’t hesitate to call on the Lord! What a shift has taken place since then? Unlike the early fathers many modern Americans would rather depend on their own intellect, ability, money, government or social services. They fail to realize that it is God who made this country a great nation in the first place. In Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.”
I believe this great nation of ours will continue to be blessed as we live in the awareness that our whole sustenance, and survival depends on God but if we turn our backs on Him and hate him in our hearts as it suggests in Psalm 81:15, we will incur God’s wrath upon ourselves. In other words there are great blessings in store for all those who call upon His name and there are curses in store for all those who turn away from Him and neglect to call on Him.
This is not only true for
for all the nations in the world. Paul emphasized how important this calling on
God is for every living being in Romans 10:10-13. “For it is with your heart
that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess
and are saved. As the scripture says, “Any one who trusts in him will never be
put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile the same Lord
is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who
calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This scripture seems to suggest that it is not just enough to believe in God in our hearts but it is imperative that we cry out loud or proclaim or confess with our mouths that He is God. This scripture also suggests that this invitation is not limited only to the clergy, evangelists, or certain prayer giants but it is for every one. In other words if you want to see a miracle in your life it is required that you cry out to God for help; and don’t wait for others to do it for you, He will hear your cry as much as He hears any one who reaches out to him in humility. Psalm 145: 18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”
My prayer for each of us is that we humble ourselves, turn away from our wicked ways, pray and seek God’s face with all sincerity then we will receive forgiveness and healing. If one thing I wish for our Church more than any thing else it would be that we become a people who would know how to call on our God. No matter what you are going through today I encourage you to call on the name of the Lord and he will deliver you from all your trouble.
I want to close with these words of a song by Scott Wesley Brown “He will Carry You.” There is no problem too big God cannot solve it. There is no mountain too tall he cannot move it. There is no storm too dark God cannot calm it. There is no sorrow too deep he cannot sooth it. If he carried the weight of the world up on his shoulders I know my brother/ sister that he will carry you.” Amen
 Tom Carter, comp., Spurgeon at His Best (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), p 155