“I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2 (NASB)
What reasons come to our minds when we think about why we love the LORD God? This is an intensely personal “thank you” Psalm to the Lord for saving the psalmist from death. The occasion and author are unknown, although the language used by Jonah in his prayer from the fish’s stomach is remarkably similar. Compare Psalm 116:3-4 with Jonah 2:5-6. In these words in this song the psalmist tells how he reacted to the way the Lord responded to his call for help. These words may well also express our feelings in reaction to how God responses when we cry for mercy. It’s surely true that when the Lord responds by turning his ear to our call for help our hearts respond in love for Him. Yes He is a wonderful, faithful Lord and we do love Him. And isn’t it true that when God does hear our prayer it encourages us to again and again call on Him whenever we need help? This is a habit we want to have throughout our lives. Let’s join with the psalmist, saying what he said in our verse “I will call on him as long as I live.”
“They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9b (NASB)
Our passage today is another which is about Jesus Christ and his work as our sacrifice. It speaks first of how a remnant of the people of Israel will see and receive Jesus when He comes again. We have many promises in the Bible about the way God answers prayer. Today’s verse has the words, “They will call on my name and I will answer them.” This is God’s promise through His prophet Zechariah that He will answer our prayers and He will say, “They are my people.” Not all will receive the Lord at his return to Earth and while this promise was given specifically to God’s people Israel, who were His people in those days, He has never changed this promise toward those who have believed – we are His people now because we are part of His family. The promise we can claim today is that when anyone of us calls on God in Jesus’ name, He recognizes us as His own and He will respond. We can count on it – He will respond to our prayer today friends, because we are His people and He is our Lord and God.
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 (ESV)
Perhaps there are times when you feel distant from your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not uncommon for those who believe to go through trials and testing of their faith. Sometimes it seems that what is before us is insurmountable and like a huge tidal wave it is about to wash over us and take us under. That is the time to remember this promise and call on God. If you have repented and believed on Jesus Christ, you have been saved from the wages of sin and are safe in Christ. Being in Christ is why we can believe that the LORD is near when we call on Him. He is not distant and He is not out of reach of our voice. In fact if we are truly in Christ, then He is in us with His Holy Spirit. This is not hocus-pocus as many who reject Jesus would claim. Our Almighty God is a spirit yet a true person who loves and cares for us enough to offer His only begotten Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sin. He promised this long ago and what God promises, He fulfills.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” – Isaiah 55:6 (NASB)
Our promise today is one that brings thankfulness to our hearts and without fail, we can trust the promise. But, more than a promise, it is an invitation from our Lord God. God is near and being near means he is ‘findable.’ This appeal is for all people, believers, but especially those who have not yet chosen to believe in the only God, our Savior Jesus Christ. What can we believe when we seek the Lord? We can believe that we will receive mercy and pardon. From the beginning of time the Lord has required the same thing for salvation and that is that we trust in Him. Salvation by grace and mercy has always been available to the all who are willing to seek the Lord and call on Him. There is a warning, God can be found only while He is near, which means while His offer is still available. There are also promises of a time of His judgment when it will be too late to receive the mercy and pardon God offers it to us now. Be thankful today if you in faith have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:8-9a (NASB)
The people of Israel were complaining that God did not recognize their religious actions. God responds to them that their fasting was half-hearted and done with the wrong motivation. Insincere fasting resulted in contention, fighting, and pretense. Fasting consisted of more than just an outward ritual and a mock penitence, it involved repentance over sin resulting in humility. Turning from sin, and caring for those in need was required for God to acknowledge their obedience in fasts. In contrast with the complaint of v. 3, a time will come when the Lord will be completely responsive to the prayers of His people. This will be done when they are converted and giving evidence of the transformation in the kind of works that reflect a truly repentant heart This verse is an interesting way to describe what happens when we pray. Seek God with the right heart and God will pour out His blessings. God has a way of letting us know that He is listening when we pray. When we are praying in earnest we’ll be aware that God’s is there and listening because He has promised to be there.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 (ESV)
Each of us carries burdens that drive us to seek help and answers from God. So we talk to Him in our prayers⸺both spoken and thoughts which we address to our Lord God. How then, do we perceive that God hears our prayers? We know He does because the Bible tells us that the effective prayer offered with clear conscience and relationship with God will be answered and bring about much in the way of answers. Sometimes we may talk about heaven being so far away. However, it is within speaking distance to those who belong there. The greater context of this verse is about a time yet to be. But we see a promise in this verse even for us today. We are promised that God knows our prayers before we speak them and he both hears and answers them according to His will⸺as we learn elsewhere in the Scriptures. Whatever we ask, according to God’s will, we receive to the glory of God. So it is in this promise today. God answers before we even call and hears before we even voice our requests. Yet, we continue to pray according to the will of God.