Call And Answer
Have you really called on God? Have you gotten down to business with God? God waits until you’re real.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing alright? Well sure I wait for you to answer. I like to know how you are, you know that. Somehow, I get a mental picture of you, and you, I’m sure, get a mental picture of me. Sometimes it’s quite different from the real thing. People come up to me and say, oh I’m so shocked, I thought you looked so different. Somebody has me pegged as a very short, jolly Santa Claus kind of person, somebody else has me tall and thin like a bean pole, and so on. Well, what I am is, I’m 6 foot of a quarter inch and I weigh 200 and none of your business, ha. And, oh I’m just so glad to be with you, that’s the point. We’re friends aren’t we? Thank God.
Come with me then to this 116th Psalm, for a break between the various book studies that we do, we just finished Colossians a few days ago, and now we’ll be going into something else, but just in between to walk around in some of these precious passages in the Psalms may be a refreshment and help to somebody.
The 116th Psalm deals with reasons for loving God and results of loving God, reasons for loving God and results of loving God. He says, “I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and my supplication”. We talked about audible prayer in a real cry to God. We talked about supplications, have a prayer list know what you’re going to say to God. Think about your prayer before you pray it. We talked about the fact that God meets us in our sorrows. He said, “The sorrows of death compassed me in the pains of the grave got hold on me. I found trouble and sorrow”. Oh, if you’ve lost a loved one, the only real comfort there is in the touch, the tender touch of father God, and you may have that for the asking. Well, that’s about as far as we went the last time we got together, now we go on to verse four in Psalm 116, he said, “Then called I, on the name of the Lord and I said, ‘Oh Lord, I beseech Thee! Deliver my soul'”. Now, he got into the depths of sorrow and he said: “then I called”. In the 18 years I spent full-time in the pastorate, and in the many years since that time, where I’ve dealt with people so often folk who’ve said, “Well, I guess it took this sorrow or took this trial or it took this catastrophe to bring me to my senses and to make me seek God”. Sad, isn’t it, that we wait or to put it a different way that God has to wait until we are willing by the force of some other pressure that comes upon us, willing to call upon Him.
Oh, the businessman who said to me one day as we stood in his office and he pointed to a very worn spot in the, in the carpeting of that office, he said, “That is the spot on which I prayed literally wearing out a part of the carpet, as I went through the ringer in my own business” he said, “the Lord brought me through and I have paid off my creditors”. Then he said thoughtfully, “Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world”. See, the word then is so revealing. We do wait, I guess because we human beings, we do wait until things are tough, and then we pray. I’m turning back to Psalm 107, where it says, “As they wandered in the wilderness, they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them then, they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses”. The wanderer has to wonder awhile, the prodigal has to come to a place where he has no other recourse but to go home to his father. Then, they cried unto the Lord. And it says “He satisfies that the longing soul, fills the hungry soul with goodness, sit in darkness and the shadow of death being bound in affliction and iron because they rebelled against the words of God and condemned, that means rejected the counsel of the most high, therefore He brought down their heart with labor, they fell down, there was none to help them, then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble.” It’s prayer out of the pressure of circumstances.
Then he goes on little farther in this 107th Psalm he says, “fools because of their transgression and their iniquities are afflicted, their soul of abhorreth of all manner of meat and they draw near to the gates of death then, they cry unto the Lord. The problems that we face that grow out of our own foolishness and stubbornness often times, lead us to cry out to God. Then, here’s the people that are out only the sea in ships, he commanded them “Raise at the stormy wind which lifted up the waves thereof they mount up to heaven the go down again, to the depths of their soul was melted because of trouble they reeled to and fro and stagger like a drunken man are at their wits end, then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble and He bringeth them out of their distresses, He maketh the storm calm.” Oh, the storms of life, both real and in the figurative sense of living through stormy and turbulence of circumstances God is master of the storm. Jesus can still say to the waves, peace be still. If you’ll cry out to God, if you pray to Him then, then is the key word there, as you can see.
Well, I wonder how it is with you beloved, have you been waiting perhaps, have you been putting off getting real with God? Have you been postponing a real confrontation between you and your Lord where your soul cries out to Him? Well, that’s what the Psalmist is saying, I got into deep, deep sorrow, then I called, “Oh, Lord”. See he’s praying in earnest now, he said, “I beseech Thee, that word beseech, is a very strong word both in the Hebrew and the one that’s translated, beseech in your Greek New Testament, strong words which mean urgent, urgent desire. Something you have simply have to have. How urgent is your praying? I don’t mean necessarily loud, nor indeed long. Some of the shortest effective prayers recorded in the Bible are very short indeed. Simon Peter was going down for the third time and he cried out, “Lord save me”, that’s a pretty short prayer but it worked. So, I don’t mean loud or long necessarily, what I do mean is real and urgent, insistent, intense. Years going to an evangelist named Jim Mercer, I haven’t seen them in many, many years. I don’t even know if he’s alive, but he was such a blessing to me in the Youth for Christ years, when we were barnstorming around the country together and now again I would run across his trail and we would have a fellowship together. On one occasion I had meetings in Toronto, and he had some meetings in a town called Owen Sound up there in Ontario, and I said to him, I said, you know Jim I just wish that I could have some prayer with you, I need to talk to God about some of these things and I need somebody with whom I can praise. And well he said, “we don’t have meetings on Monday night in this crusade I don’t know why, they shut down on Monday nights but they do, so I’ll come on over and that after your meeting is over will get together.” Sure enough, he did. He was waiting for me after our service in Toronto was concluded, and we went on back to the little hotel where I had a room, and I said well let’s get to praying. And I laid out a few things about which I was concerned, and talked to the Father about them, and then Jim began to pray and he took up some of these matters, took them upon his own heart some of these burdens that I had that involve people and policies and to the whole future of the work in different places, heavy, heavy burdens, he took them upon himself so to speak and he and he really began to intercede before God. And as he prayed, he trembled with intensity so much so that we were kneeling on either side of the little single cot that I had there in that room and, and I was on one side he am the other kneeling there and as he prayed I could feel like the intense trembling of his strong body as he cried out to God for, Bob Cook. I’ll always remember that and always be thankful, for that was in many ways a turning point in my own ministry in regard to some of these problem areas.
God answers prayer when you call. He says call unto Me and I will answer thee and show the great and mighty things which thou knowest not. In another place God says, Ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart”. The complaint of our Savior in quoting the prophetic scripture was this people honoreth Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me. It’s possible to pray the right words and have a backslidden heart at the same time, as you know so well. Oh, have you really called on God? Have you gotten down to business with God? God waits until you’re real. It’s a good deal like the experience I had as a very small boy. I was raised, the better word is reared. My father believed in the scripture laying on of hands. I was raised by the book. He believed in applying it hard and low. Well, no, the fact was that when I had done something wrong and was to be spanked for it, and he would generally let up I noticed, your children are perceptive they don’t have their thoughts always organized but they don’t miss a thing, and I noticed that he let up on his spanking when I was crying hard, so I thought in my little boy mind, alright I’ll start crying hard right away and the spanking will be shorter. And I tried that the next time I got into trouble, oh I cried up a storm. He kept right on, and he kept on until my crying took on a different note, a note of penitence, a note of reality came into it somehow or other. I don’t know how he knew, or perhaps you understand how he knew. God knows whether or not you mean business or whether you’re putting on a show, doesn’t He? Oh, yes He does. Oh, today will you dare to get real with God? It may make your tears fall, it may hurt to tell God the truth about yourself, but oh when you do you are giving Him a chance to move into your life, and to show how great He is and to pour out His Almighty power in and through you. I called, he said, on the name of the Lord. Oh, Lord I beseech Thee. Deliver my soul. Small thought here. He uses the word soul. He didn’t talk about the circumstances; he talked about what was inside of him. Your troubles, ladies and gentlemen, have their solution from the inside out, before God changes in circumstance He needs to change you and me. What a tremendous insight that is, put it to work dear friend, in your own life today, would you do that? God bless you this very day in calling upon God.
Dear Father today, may we be found calling out to God in getting divine answers. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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