1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
I am sure that a lot of people from my generation remember the days when we didn’t have speed dial on our phones. Instead, we kept lists of phone numbers in little books and on scraps of paper near the phone–which, of course, was wired into a fixed place in the house. I remember how excited my college roommate was when we got a cordless phone and he was able to program ten numbers into it–mostly women, of course, but also some family. But before those “newfangled contraptions” arrived, it was not uncommon to see a list of phone numbers next to every phone in someone’s home. Sure, we would memorize a few numbers, just in case we had to call someone while away from home, but written lists were the way we kept track of all those numbers–and heaven forbid we should ever lose the list! When someone moved, the list had to be corrected, and after a while, just to make things more legible, a new list would be created, old entries expunged, and the larger address book updated.
Of course, these days we have memories built right into our mobile phones, so lists of phone numbers and even email addresses can be updated at any time. No messy list, and seemingly no end to how many names and numbers we can track. With the touch of a button I can call my best friends, my children, my pastor, or my parents. Although I don’t call him nearly enough, my father’s phone number is the only one I actually DO remember without needing speed dial. But as for the rest… Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing my phone has such a good memory.
Do you know God’s phone number? Honestly, I had never heard it put this way until just a couple years ago, but it is very true. God’s number is JEREMIAH-333.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
That’s easy to remember, don’t you think? Or perhaps you could try ISAIAH-589. Not as easy to remember, but…
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, “Here I am.”
You see, it really is that simple. We can call upon the Lord any time, day or night, and be certain that He hears us, that He will answer our call. There is no complex formula, no long process, and, unlike the days before my time, we don’t need an “operator” to make the call. No, it really is as simple as calling out to Him, expressing our deepest needs, our unspoken sorrows, our greatest joys, and our unending thanks and praise. We can call our “Abba” Father, our Daddy in Heaven, with whatever is on our heart, and we can be sure that He is listening.
So why don’t we call more often? Yes, I know that most of those reading this do pray and call to God quite often. But why don’t more people do so? Even among people who call themselves “Christians,” you’ll find that prayer is remarkably lacking–perfunctory at best, nonexistent at worst. I haven’t the room here to go into the details of all the reasons why people don’t call upon the Lord, but I will mention one reason: many people don’t think they CAN. It’s true. There are so many people who, when you first let them know that they can call upon God all on their own, they just look at you in amazement. “You mean I can speak to God any time I like? I don’t need a priest to speak for me? I don’t have to be pure in heart, completely straightened out?” I really have heard things like that.
But HOW do we call upon the Lord? David gave us a hint in today’s verses. Look again at what he says:
Psalms 18:1b-3 (New International Version)
1b I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 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.
3 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
David starts by saying “I love You,” and then he praises God for who He is: rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, salvation. David reminds us that God alone is worthy of all our praise, for He alone can truly save us from our enemies.
Do you see what David did? Love and praise: that is how we call upon the Lord. Yes, we can speak our supplications, we can fall before the Lord and cry out with groanings from the deepest needs of our hearts, but all that is really necessary is to love Him and praise Him. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
We may not know what to ask for, nor even what to say, but if we approach the Lord with love for Him and with confidence in His ability to save us–“with no doubting” (James 1:6)–then God WILL hear, and He will respond. He may not give us the answer we thought to get, and He may even tell us No to our open request, but He will hear and answer our call. However God responds, we know it is according to His will, and that, in the long run, it will be for our good.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
David faced a lot of turmoil and personal sin in his life, but he never gave up on the Lord God, never ceased to call upon Him. David sang to the Lord, and he praised and worshiped the Lord, and he ranted and raved at the Lord, and he even danced before the Lord. But mostly, David loved the Lord, and because of that he was able to call upon the Lord and know that he would be saved from his enemies.
Do we truly love the Lord? I know that many of us fear Him, and perhaps even a few tremble before Him without knowing how to approach the throne of grace. Many of us love God a lot of the time, but sometimes we wonder, we doubt, we let our love of the world and all its pleasures overshadow our love for God. But truly, all it takes to call upon God is single-minded love for Him.
Let us therefore love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and let us praise Him for who He is–our Savior and our shield, our Rock and our fortress, our healer and our Father. When we so love Him, we don’t need to worry about getting the phone number right. We just need to call out to the Lord with love and praise, and He will always answer the call.
I love You, O Lord my God. I praise You for who You are: Almighty God, my Savior and Lord, my fortress and my shield. You have shown Your selfless love for us all by sending Your only Son to die upon the Cross for our sins. You answered with mercy even when we did not think to call, even when we were so lost in our sin that we did not cry out to You. Today, Lord God, I call to You to heal this nation, to hear their unspoken cries for Your deliverance, and to speak to the hearts of the unrepentant to lead them to Your Son and Your salvation. Amen.