CALLING ON THE LORD (EXCERPT OF WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM THE LORD)
Taken from “Calling on the Lord,” an excerpt from, What I Have Learned From the Lord.
Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There is no doubt that hard times are ahead for us in America. The sin of abortion-on-demand alone is sufficient to bring down the wrath of God upon us. And there are many other ways in which we have departed from our Christian faith, by serving the gods of money, sexual lust, and entertainment.
We are not going to be able to stand in our own strength, no matter how firmly we believe in Christ. We must set aside our own abilities and live by the Life of Christ if we are to survive the problems that are ahead of us.
I love you, O LORD, my strength. (Psalms 18:1)
David truly loved the Lord. It is remarkable that back then, David had learned that his own strength was not sufficient to enable him to stand against all his enemies, especially King Saul, who was determined to destroy David.
The Lord Jesus was David’s strength, although David did not know Him by that name. The Lord Jesus will be our strength to, if we keep looking to Him for all the problems that assail us.
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. (Psalms 18:2)
The mighty Jesus is our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer, our Refuge, our Shield, the Power of our salvation, our Stronghold. How powerful is the Lord Jesus? He spoke the bodies in space into existence. Jesus has galactic power. No matter what forces Satan has with him, our Lord Jesus is wiser and stronger.
There is no telling what enemies, physical and spiritual, will confront us in the days to come, Jesus is greater. Jesus is wiser. Jesus will take care of everyone who calls upon Him, whether that individual is a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu or any other religion, or an atheist.
When we see the powers in the earth seeking to overcome us, we must remember the awesome power of Christ. God, who holds all power in His hands, has given Jesus Christ all authority and power in the heavens and upon the earth. No matter what threats the enemies make, they cannot overcome Christ because they cannot overcome God the Father.
Also they cannot in any manner overcome an individual who is trusting in Christ to save him or her.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalms 18:3)
The above is an extremely important lesson for us. David called on the Lord. Today we have numerous books and electronic devices that tell us of ways in which to find success in Christ. I think these instructions abound because people want to be in control. They do not enjoy the helplessness that comes when we seek to live by the Life of Christ.
But I am here to say that the way to obtain deliverance and success is to call to the Lord. We do not need fancy prayers. “Jesus, help me” is the best formula for deliverance and success. We are to pray this prayer over and over again until our problems are solved. In fact, it is a good idea to pray this prayer fifty times a day, until we get used to leaning on the Lord.
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. (Psalms 18:4,5)
When something bad happens to us, or we are in great danger of some kind or another, spiritual darkness attacks us. As if the misfortune were not enough, on top of this we are oppressed with dread and fear. Then we have to look to Jesus for strength and help.
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. (Psalms 18:6)
A Christian friend showed me a book which purported to describe how any number of ailments could be cured by following certain spiritual rules. I simply do not trust this way of getting help. My way is to call to the Lord for help.
Notice that when David, who was sinking down in the spiritual darkness, called to God for help, God heard David’s voice. David’s cry came before God and into His ears.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in serious trouble I want God to know about it. I remember somewhere in the Bible, God told the Israelites to sound the trumpet when they went into battle so God would remember them. We should not be taking for granted that God remembers us just because we are a Christian. We should let God know in no uncertain terms that we are in trouble!
Over the last several years several theories about “faith” have been advanced, the idea being that if we just have faith we will be spared all sorts of trouble and afflictions. Some go so far as to say if we pray that God will heal us, and then say “by faith” that we have been healed, we actually will be healed.
My opinion of that approach is, if you tell God you are healed before you are healed, God may take you at your word and leave you as you are.
No, we do not say we have an answered prayer until it has been answered; or until we have a clear assurance from Jesus that the answer is on the way.
What we are to do is to call to the Lord, and keep calling until we get the answer; or until we know God has heard us and the answer is on the way; or until God changes our prayer.
The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. (Psalms 18:7)
Does God get angry? Apparently so. Why was God angry? Because the forces of wickedness had attacked His servant, David.
Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. (Psalms 18:8)
Perhaps this is some sort of Hebrew imagery. For myself, I like to accept the Bible literally. If the Bible says smoke came from God’s nostrils, and consuming fire came from His mouth, then I believe that is what took place.
While I am on the subject of “fire,” I wonder sometimes if all the spiritual fires are not the same, all coming from God. Perhaps the consuming fire mentioned in the passage above is the same fire as the Lake of Fire. “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?” Isaiah asks. Maybe the only people who are harmed by the Fire of God are those who have sin in their personality.
He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. (Psalms 18:9)
This is what takes place when we call on the Lord. It does not take place when we attempt to utilize a spiritual formula that someone has developed.
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. (Psalms 18:10)
David had a great need. God did not waste time. He arrived in a hurry. Have you ever notice that God always is on time? We may wonder at the delay, but God always arrives at the critical moment.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. (Psalms 18:11)
He does this, doesn’t He? Things can get very dark before the answer comes. But the Lord Jesus told us we can ask what we will, in His name, and it shall be done. There is no question about it. No matter how dark things get, it shall be done!
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. (Psalms 18:912)
God always is in the light, even though we cannot see Him at times. He comes against our enemies with hailstones and bolts of lightning. We do not have to avenge ourselves. We can afford to be kind to our enemies. If our cause is righteous, God will avenge us.
The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. (Psalms 18:13)
You may not hear God’s thunder, but you can be sure your enemies hear it. They hear the voice of God and are terrified. Keep that in mind, because trouble is approaching our land. No matter what forces come against us, if we will call upon the Lord continually, our enemies will hear His voice; and then they will cease their boasting.
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them. (Psalms 18:14)
He routed the enemies. God routed them because you called upon Him. God has the arrows and the great bolts of lighting. No enemy of ours can stand against God’s weapons. They will flee, no matter how powerful they appear to be.
The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. (Psalms 18:15)
When you call on the Lord, He not only causes the enemy to retreat. God reveals to you the source of the problem. God exposes the “valleys of the sea,” the deep places of the peoples of the world, and the “foundations of the earth.” God reveals the foundation of every force that threatens you and rebukes it, because you called on Him for assistance.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. (Psalms 18:16)
You may be in deep waters. However, you do not have to swim to safety in your own strength. God will reach down from Heaven and take hold of you. No matter how dire your circumstances may be; no matter how impossible your situation; God will lift you to safety.
Your deliverance may seem to be so effortless and natural that you will be tempted to think that you did not need God’s help after all. Well, if you want God to help you in your next disaster, you are wise if you remember to give vigorous thanks for your present deliverance.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (Psalms 18:17)
I don’t think it happens too often to Christian people, but sometimes we do come up against a powerful enemy who is too strong for us. In this case we are not to faint. We are to bring to mind the almighty power of Jesus Christ and call upon Him for help. Christ is greater and wiser than any enemy we ever will encounter.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. (Psalms 18:18)
It seems like it never rains but it pours, so to speak. The minute you get in trouble, here come all sorts of additional troubles to harass you. Also, the spiritual atmosphere becomes foreboding. If you will not faint but call on the name of the Lord Jesus, He will be your support—and there is no support like that of Jesus!
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Psalms 18:19)
“He rescued me because He delighted in me.” Stop and think about this. David called to the Lord, and then the Lord moved powerfully on behalf of David because the Lord delighted in David. If you want to have your prayers answered with this kind of power, behave yourself in such a manner that the Lord Jesus delights in you.
Sometimes as I am listening to recorded Christian music, and hear the singer tell how wonderful the Lord is, I get disgusted. It is not that Christ is not worthy of more praises than we ever could possibly give Him, it is just that I wonder if the singer really is serving the Lord.
Actually, the best worship we can give Jesus is to present our body a living sacrifice and do His complete will cheerfully. This is better than complimenting the Lord with great swelling words of adoration. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. (Psalms 18:20)
Ever since I was in Bible school, sixty years ago, I have heard the same song: “We are not worthy. No one can do God’s will. We cannot get victory over sin until we die;” and so on ad nauseam. David did not talk like that. David said the Lord dealt with him according to his righteousness and the cleanness of his hands. This was not boasting, it was just a fact.
We have reduced the plan of salvation to “four steps.” The four steps state “no one is righteous.” The truth is, the Bible refers to several people as righteous and blameless, like the mother and father of John the Baptist. Being righteous does not mean we never are deceived or seduced. David claimed to be righteous, and he was. When he sinned he admitted it and took his punishment. Then he died in honor.
After the incident with Bathsheba, David did not then go out and do the same thing again with another woman.
When we sin we are to confess our sin, renounce it, turn away from it with the Lord’s help, put it behind our back, and press forward in Christ. God does not expect us to already have been perfected. What God requires is for us to acknowledge that we have sinned, and then quit sinning. “Go and sin no more,” Jesus said to the woman.
For us to whine and say we have to sin while we are in the world, and that no one is perfect, is displeasing to God. The victorious saints understand they have not been perfected as yet, so when they sin they acknowledge it, turn away from it, and press forward in Christ.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD; have not done evil by turning from my God. (Psalms 18:21)
Can I say that? Can you say that? We had better say it and mean it if we expect to receive the roles and enablements outlined in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three!
All his laws are before me; have not turned away from his decrees. (Psalms 18:22)
“Oh Brother Thompson, as long as we are in the world we have to sin.” I guess King David did not feel that way, did he?
“But we are helpless and have to sin.” King David did not turn away from God’s laws, and he wasn’t even born again!
We of today are a bunch of whiners. We better pull up our diapers and begin to serve the Lord. Hard times are coming, and we will have to endure them if we are to stand in Christ.
I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. (Psalms 18:23)
I understand very well that no person can keep himself or herself from all spiritual bondages. We have to have help from the Lord. But it is true also that in many instances we can keep ourselves.
Sometimes there is a bondage, such as alcohol, cigarettes, fornication, that is just about impossible to break. In that case, the individual should go to the elders of the church and confess his or her need. They will pray and he or she shall be delivered. Otherwise, in the case of most sins, all we need to do is make up our mind and stop doing it. “Go and sin no more”!
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. (Psalms 18:24)
Since the above verse repeats verse 20, we may assume that the Spirit of God regards it as especially important. God is saying that if we will live a righteous life, He will move quickly to answer our prayers.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. (Psalms 18:25,26)
I think we Christians in America need to make a decision. Either the theory of Dispensationalism is correct, and such verses as the two above have not bearing on us because we are saved by “grace” and our conduct is not a factor in the way God view us; or else the two verses above apply to us.
Which is it, do you think?
I myself have come to believe that the Old Testament passages that bear on our behavior are still in effect. We can learn from what the Psalms teach. Of course we are not still under the Law of Moses, as the Apostle Paul taught us so clearly, but do the two verses above apply to us or do they not?
I do not believe we can vacillate any longer. The moral strength of the churches in America has largely been destroyed. The fear of God is almost nonexistent. This lack of moral testimony of the churches has spilled over into the secular community. Honor has just about disappeared. A man’s word no longer is his bond.
Our government, taking its cues from the populace, no longer is attempting to carry out the values of the New Testament. Whenever those who rule over people do not enforce God’s moral principles, then that government shall be replaced. So we can expect that before too long there shall be radical changes in the American government and in our society as a whole.
To the faithful God will show Himself to be faithful. This means that if you expect God to be faithful toward you, you had better be a faithful person.
God shows Himself to be blameless to those who are blameless. So much for the teaching of “grace.”
To the pure God will show himself to be pure. How then will God appear to the impure? A little different from how we ordinarily view the Lord, isn’t it. Remember, David is saying that God has rewarded him according to the cleanness of his hands in God’s sight.
To all those who are cooked and deceitful in their ways, God shows Himself to be shrewd, well able to outwit those who would attempt to use God for their own ends.
How different the above vision of God is from what is portrayed today. We are not bearing a true witness of God, His Person, His will, His ways, and His eternal purpose in Christ. Instead we have a benevolent grandfather in Heaven who will declare us to be perfect if we only will accept His forgiveness.
We Christians are leaving a false impression of God. Consequently America is turning itself into another Sodom. The comedians on television blaspheme Christ, and the audience roars with laughter. The nation that chooses to behave as Sodom behaved will be treated as Sodom was treated. We can count on this to take place in the near future. Enough is enough!
Paul commands us to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. This we must do. No matter what kind of Divine judgments fall on the United States because of our sin, God will make a way for us to stand if we, like King David, keep ourselves from sinning.
To stand in the coming days we are going to have to trade our life, our way of doing, our plans and desires, for the life, ways, plans, and desires of the Lord Jesus. This we can do by continually acknowledging Christ in all that we do.
When we thus have exchanged our life for His Life, then we can say along with King David: “I love you, O LORD, my strength. he 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.”
When we can proclaim the above from our heart we shall be able to stand in the evil days that are coming, and to help our loved ones and all who will listen to us to stand in the Lord Jesus, no matter what comes.
Let us remember to call on Jesus when we are in trouble, and not attempt to save ourselves with religious formulas.
(“Calling On the Lord”, 3921-1)