Calling on the name of the Lord
Have you ever become fascinated with a phrase, teaching, or statement from Scripture? Hopefully you have experienced this in your walk with Christ and hopefully as well you have experienced some of what the two disciples experienced with Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:27 “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” One of these teachings has all but consumed me as of the past several months and it is the statement in Genesis 4:26 “To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” I do not know about you but this is amazing to me, “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” What did Adam and Eve do before this? Surely they spoke with God as did Cain and Abel because the Bible says in Genesis 4:9a, after Cain had killed Abel, “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’” So we know there was still interaction between God and Adam, Eve, and their descendants. So what is this statement about?
Calling upon God and remembering the Promise
As a youth pastor this is the question I constantly put before students: “What does what you just read mean?” You may think it an elementary question, but do you read Scripture and wrestle with what God is saying to you and to us? Many have read through the Scripture to get the “badge” of reading through Scripture. That is a worthy goal, but the greater goal is to mine the depths of its truths, to follow the threads that run through it, and to see the grand story being told. You must take time with the Bible; after all it is God’s words and thoughts that He has preserved for us.
So what about this statement? “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” First of all we have to look at the context and then the theme. The theme is found back in Genesis 3:15 the “Seed promise.” If you spend time in the Glory Books by Dr. Greg Harris you will encounter this numerous times in your studies. The Seed promise made by God to Adam, Eve, and Satan is God stating that He will restore the relationship, provide the sacrifice, and bring justice. I cannot help but wonder about the sadness of Adam and Eve after the fall and then the excitement with e. Afterwards to experience the heart crushing blow of one son murdering the other followed by the birth of another son Seth. What were the conversations like with God? Did they not talk with God until Seth’s son Enosh was born? While we will never know the whole answer this side of heaven there are indications in some of the verses here.
Calling upon God is Action
Word studies indicate that Enosh’s name in Hebrew means “a different Adam, man, or even mankind” depending on who you read is this a reference to Enosh only or his descendants. Still others relate this to the start of formal religion and on it goes from there. Now it is easy to get lost in commentaries so following this phrase through Scripture and seeing how it is used in other places is always a good starting point for any Bible student. Abraham built an altar at Ai and called upon the name of the Lord Gen. 12:8. Issac built an altar at Beer Sheba and called upon the name of the Lord Gen.26:25. 1 Chronicles 16:8 tells us to call upon His name and The Psalmist has many passages referring to calling upon the name of the Lord. Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:55 called upon the name of the Lord from the deep pit and so do many other Old Testament passages repeat calling upon the Lord. In joy and in sorrows we see men of God calling upon the name of the Lord and even when facing death Stephen in the Acts 7 called upon the name of the Lord. If you look at verses about calling upon the name of the Lord they are more than just a wish list and asking God for material possessions. They are instead an act of worship, acknowledging God’s provision, and a recognition of being in a state that if God does not help, there is no hope. Many time simple phrases in the Bible are rich beyond measure and this one is no different. There is an expectation, with calling upon God, that God is doing something or will do something and in response to God moving we move and we worship.
Calling upon God is Acknowledgement
What I initially take from calling upon the name of the Lord involves more than words spoken. It is action as well. It is worship. It is acknowledgement of the state I am in and that if God does not show up, I have no hope. In the deepest darkest pit God hears and God sees. From the highest mountain top God hears and God sees. God brings the restoration, God brings the sacrifice, and God will bring His justice. To that we call upon the name of the Lord, great and mighty is the Lord and worthy is He to be worshiped.