Call on Me

Psalm 50 is about God holding people in court, on trial for insulting Him, and it is in that context that He is offering them hope.

I am not sure just what a day of trouble looks for you, but for me it cannot get much worse than being in God’s presence and on trial.

Basically, we are talking about prayer and the worship of our heart – something God desires more than anything else.

When we pray, God answers and brings Him glory. It shows that He is a reality to us.  There is in a sense a spiritual connection that is made.

Prayer is filled with a manifest hope in God exhibiting a clinging affection to Him and a sure confidence.

 The law brings us into bondage, but grace proclaims hope.

Even so with this promise – we need to be patient. It might seem that God has ignored us or that we have to take up the case ourselves – but the one who feeds the sparrows will provide everything we need. Hope – and in the arms of faith as we are in our sea of trouble – God will deliver us.

Our emotions can become waves of resentment and fear for the future – in those moments life seems darker as the storm rages on and on.  Even so – we must remember that the only secure place to put our hope is in the character of God. Our breath prayer needs to sound like this – “my hope is in You and I hope in Your unfailing love.

Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He is left in the desert island all alone. His case is a very pitiable one. He goes to his bed, and he is smitten with fever. This fever lasts upon him long, and he has no one to wait upon him—none even to bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin, and had all the vices of a sailor; but his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he finds in his chest, and he lights upon this passage, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” That night he prayed for the first time in his life, and ever after there was in him a hope in God, which marked the birth of the heavenly life. (favorite portion of Charles Spurgeon’s)

 

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.  Psalm 50:15

All My Hope On God Is Founded

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I give you what I have

The encounter of Peter and John with the lame man at the gate of the temple was a testimony to the confidence, courage and conviction that had filled them both.  They knew it was their turn to start giving and with words that extended to the lame man hope, faith and confidence, they gave willingly and without hesitation.

People can be more open to a message of hope when their lives are shaken.  We need to be sensitive and recognize that we are in front of them because God wants them to hear the gospel and wants the Holy Spirit to do a work in that person’s life.

So it was with this lame man – a presentation of salvation – a broken state where God’s grace desires to touch and heal.  Our sins block us from God, but just as Peter reached out to the lame man, giving him more than he hoped or asked for, so Jesus has taken the initiative to come to each of us. God seeks us out.

It was many years ago in St. Louis, that a lawyer visited a Christian to transact some business. Just before the two parted, his client said to him, “I’ve often wanted to ask you a question, but I’ve been afraid to do so.” “What do you want to know?” asked the lawyer. The man replied, “I’ve wondered why you’re not a believer.” The man hung his head. “I know enough about the Bible to realize that it says no drunkard can enter the kingdom of God; and you know my weakness!” “You’re avoiding my question,” continued his friend the believer. “Well, truthfully, I can’t recall anyone every explaining how to become a Christian.” Picking up a bible, the client read some passages describing everyone’s guilt, but that Christ came to save the lost by dying on the cross for their sins. “By receiving Him as your substitute and redeemer,” he said, “you can be forgiven. If you are willing to repent and receive Jesus we should pray together now.” The lawyer agreed, and where it was his turn he exclaimed, “Jesus, I am a slave to drink. One of your servants has shown me how to be saved. O God, forgive my sins and help me overcome the power of this terrible habit in my life.” Right there he was converted. That lawyer was C.I. Scofield, who later edited the reference bible that still bears his name.

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple.  Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.  And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, “Look at us.”  And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them.  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. – Acts 3:1-10

Integrity of your ways

So what is the foundation of our hope?

From the book of Job it would seem to indicate that either a fear of God or a personal walk in holiness would be the confidence factor.  From the other perspective, is it safe to say that if adversity came our way and we failed to stand, would then all of the fear, holiness, and hope be worthless?

Hope is a grace that is worked in the heart – in the process of regeneration.  It is still focused on the unseen future and it still will be enjoyed here but especially in the hereafter. Hope’s foundation is in Christ and He is the only one who can keep up our spirit’s in times of affliction.  Eliphaz is the one who comes up with the question of Job’s integrity.  He judges Job’s impatience with God, his hope – so much so that he calls Job out as a hypocrite – which means he has nothing.  From Eliphaz’s perspective, hope that is true cannot be lost.

Personal integrity can help walk anyone through adversity.  In our own relationship with God there is an understanding that God knows us best and in appealing to Him, in fact, just the act of appealing to Him, brings satisfaction and hope. Job acknowledges this.

 Integrity is not perfection – so seeking God should be a place in our spiritual walk that should encourage us.  We should have hope.  We tap into a strength that is bigger than who we are. The integrity of that relationship comforts us knowing the God is a part of our lives and His presence means we are not alone.

 Job’s life was definitely in disarray – nothing he believed in made sense.  Eliphaz’ only encouraging note was to say that the innocent are only punished for a moment and that God would restore him.  If he was truly being punished, he would have already been destroyed.  Unfortunately, Eliphaz missed the point by taking too lightly the severity of Job’s losses. Job’s integrity mattered very much.

Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?

Job 4:6

Left with hope and confidence

When the ten lepers were considering their approach to Jesus, it would seem by their cry for mercy, that they were filled with expectant faith.  And when Jesus asked them to go and show themselves to the priests before He healed them, I believe they left Jesus with rising hopes and confidence. Knowing how we think, I wonder how long into their journey did they talk about looking foolish in front of the priests.

We are not told too much about how they responded or engaged in conversation after meeting Jesus.  But when hope is on the line and there is absolutely nothing to lose, the tendency is that you will do what you have to do.  Worse, when your self-talk goes from being silent and contained to being verbal and spoken out loud and that self-talk comes from an unhealthy source, you find ways to fail, to lose.  One can only pray and hope that someone will stay focused and remind every one – “I don’t know, but we must obey.”

The only hope of healing is Jesus Christ and God’s mercy

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.  As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance,  they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.  He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.  Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?  Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” – Luke 17:11-19

The Everlasting God

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Hebrews 11:1

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