Satan’s main strategy with God’s people has always been to whisper, “Don’t call, don’t ask, don’t depend on God to do great things. You’ll get along fine through your own cleverness and energy.” The truth of the matter is that the devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we lift up our hearts to God.
Listen to David’s confident assertion in Psalm 4:3: “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.” That was David’s whole posture, his instinct, and especially his approach to warfare. It doesn’t matter what the Philistine armies have. If we call out to God, He will give us the victory. If we backslide and don’t call, then we can be defeated by even a tiny army.
I can almost hear David saying, “You can chase me, you can persecute me, you can do anything you want—but when I call on God, you’re in trouble! The Lord will hear when I call to Him.”
Notice how God defines wicked people in Psalm 14:4: “Will evildoers never learn—those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the Lord?” That is the divine definition of the ungodly. They will do many things, but they will not humble themselves and recognize God’s omnipotence by calling on His name with all their hearts.
Salvation is impossible until a person humbly calls upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21), for God has promised specifically to be rich in mercy to those who call on His name (see Romans 10:12-13).
“Call upon me in the day of trouble,” God says in Psalm 50:15. “I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” God desires praise from our lives but the only way fresh praise and honor will come is as we keep coming to Him in times of need and difficulty. Then He will intervene to show Himself strong on our behalf, and we will know that He has done it.
Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.