Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bethany Bullet - August 25, 2010

It was a spring day and the communication went something like this, “Come here, I need you!” No, it was not a high school student calling mom for a ride & it was not a text sent to a friend asking for assistance. It was not a Tweet calling out for help; it was not even Commissioner Gordon calling out for Batman. The date was March 10, 1876 and a Mr. Alexander Graham Bell called out for his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you,” with that the first telephone call was made and over 130 years later, it seems that not much has changed.

People are still calling for help. Whether it is on the phone, with a text, or a tweet, people still call for assistance to find anything from a good taco, to the trendiest tailor. In recent history communication has come a long way, but people have been calling for help long before Mr. Bell called for Mr. Watson.

It was back in the Garden of Eden, a call was made not in words, but in actions. The serpent had done his deed, the bait had been taken, and sin had reared its ugly head. The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She called out to her husband and he ate it.

And so began the first day of trouble the world had known. Soon it was the LORD calling out, “Where are you?” The answer: “I was afraid so I hid.” The first day of trouble played out like so many since.

Humanity continued to call out for help as each day continued to be filled with trouble. It was many generations later that the people found themselves enslaved in Egypt, forced to labor for Pharaoh. The work was exhausting, the toll on the people was great, there were many days of trouble, and in their distress, they cried out for help, and the LORD heard their cry, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:6-8)

Time and time again we see the same pattern. The people fall away, they call for help, the LORD sends a deliverer, and as soon as the day of trouble has passed, the people fall away again. It is the pattern of the entire Book of Judges and in fact it follows a pattern we are all pretty familiar with and so was the Psalmist who wrote: (Psalm 18:1-6)

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.

But, friends, let us be careful. We must remember that God is not simply a tool at our disposal. God is not just waiting by the phone, waiting for us to call when trouble strikes. We must remember that God is in the business of calling Himself.

  • By His voice God called the universe into being. He created everything out of nothing.
  • It was the LORD who called to Adam and Eve in the garden and brought to them the hope of salvation.
  • It was the LORD who called Noah to build the ark and in so doing saved humanity.
  • It was the LORD who called Abram and promised to make him a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.
  • It was the LORD who called Moses from the burning bush and used him to bring salvation from slavery.
  • It was the LORD who called Samuel in the night and appointed him to anoint the kings.
  • It was the LORD who called the prophets to speak forth for Him.
  • It was the LORD who used His angels to call the shepherds abiding in their flocks by night to tell them that the Savior had been born.
  • It was the LORD Himself who called disciples to follow Him.
  • It was the LORD who called out, “It is finished!”
  • It was the LORD who called Paul on the road to Damascus to become His Apostle.
  • And it was the LORD who called you and me in the waters of Baptism and claimed us as a child of the King and an heir of salvation.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the children of God.” (1 John 3:1)

Let us never forget that it is God who acts first, in the person of Christ to bring us salvation.

It is only in this context that we can rightly understand our text from Sunday. From the 50th Psalm, verse 15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor me.”

Because of sin, every day is filled with trouble, hardship, distress, pain, disease, fear, anxiety, and the list could go on. But our LORD tells us to call upon him daily; to bring to Him our requests and petitions. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

We are assured in Scripture, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Prayer is our communication line with Jesus. It is how we call upon Him when the day of trouble comes. It is how the church calls out. In fact, the word translated as “church” in many places in the New Testament literally means “those who are called out.” We have been called out in Baptism to call upon the LORD in times of trouble. We are reminded of the deliverance granted to us in Christ and we bring honor to Him as we are called together in this place around Word and Sacrament, to hear of the Salvation of the LORD.

Prayer can be as simple as, “Lord, come here, I need YOU.” No grandiose words or flowery phrases are necessary, only the assurance of the Savior who beckons us to call upon Him in the day of trouble and experience His deliverance in Christ.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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