by Jan Silvious
Do you know what it means to "call on the name of the Lord"?
For too many people, calling on the name of the Lord is a form of slang—"O Lord!" this or "O Lord!" that—uttered in a moment of intense anxiety or frustration. God never intended for His children to be so cavalier about His name. He intended for us to take Him and the process of calling on His name seriously.
The Hebrew word for call implies addressing a specific person with a specific request. Rarely was God's name used in a random outcry. In fact, for the Old Testament saint, calling on the name of the Lord was the reverent act of summoning aid from Jehovah God, Yahweh, the God whose name they would not dare speak aloud.
The first recorded mention of this kind of invocation is found in Genesis 4:26, after Seth's son, Enos, is born: "At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord." Up until this time, people had made sacrifices in worship to Him, but had not asked Him for anything.
This event signaled a whole new concept in communication with the God of creation: "This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles" (Ps. 34:6). "In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud" (81:7). "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near" (Isa. 55:6).
Calling for help is not foreign to us. In some circles we are encouraged to admit helplessness and to ask for assistance. Even the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory are set up for that purpose. But in the area of spiritual matters, the great dilemma comes in deciding whom to call.
As the "new age" philosophy escalates, people are being urged to call on "god as you know him. or her" or to appeal to "your higher power." The Bible makes it very clear that there is only one Source of legitimate help—the Lord God of heaven and earth. And there is a good reason why it is so specific.
Recently I heard an interview with a television personality whose lifestyle gives no indication that she knows or serves God. When a certain tabloid newspaper printed a story maligning her and her husband, she said the two of them just gave the whole situation over to their "higher power." As a result, the next day a man came to their house with enough dirt on that particular tabloid to sue its owners for "millions and millions of dollars."
This person, who makes no claim of knowing the God of the Scriptures, says she chooses to trust in "god as she knows him," and she got an answer when she called on him. But who answered?
My friend, we are living in dangerous times. The great God of the universe invites: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jer. 33:3). What more do we need?