“As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Romans 10:11-13 NLT
In our verses today, Paul continues his theme of salvation with two quotes from the Old Testament, from Isaiah 28:16 and Joel 2:32. The first is embedded within a prophetic message from Isaiah, to the people of Israel, the northern kingdom, whose capital was Samaria. It was a prophecy of hope, about the coming King, “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken”. The second of Paul’s quotes was from the prophet Joel. Joel prophesied about the coming devastation of Judah, but through it all, the Lord promised to restore His people. We read, “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the Lord has said. These will be among the survivors whom the Lord has called”.
What a wonderful picture of God’s grace! God’s heart of love for people everywhere, even those who have rebelled against Him, and who have rejected and denied Him, nevertheless encourages them to reach out to Him in faith, trusting Him for their future. His grace knows no limits, because he is a generous, unstinting God. And Joel’s prophecy is clear – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. Calling on God’s name started a long time before Isaiah and Joel. We read in Genesis 4:26, “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord”. But what does it mean to “call on the name of the Lord”? We hear many such calls in society today, but mostly they are using God’s name as a swear word, a blasphemy. It’s the devil’s way of diverting the perfect holiness of God’s name into the ordinary and mundane. But we pilgrims call on God’s name in our prayers, our praise and worship, our quiet times. We acknowledge His righteousness and holiness. We express our grateful thanks for all He has done for us and those dear to us.
We don’t just call on God’s name when we made our confession of faith though. It’s an act that we do continually. We read in Psalm 116:2, “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live”. It’s a forever life choice. We’re also encouraged to call upon Him when we’re in trouble, – “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me” (Psalm 50:15). Above all, though, calling on God’s name identifies us pilgrims as His followers. His people. His children.
Our tv screens are full of people, calling out slogans and shouting out sound bites integrated with their ideologies. Political activists call out the name of their leaders. In reverent tones, our educators call out the names of eminent scientists, writers and philosophers of bygone ages. But there is only one name that is worth referring to. There is a web site that claims that God has 952 names in the Bible. And it is true that God has so many facets to His character that it will be difficult to find names to describe them all. But we don’t have to get caught up in thinking of all God’s names. As we read His Word, we find out more and more about Him, and, amazingly, we always manage to find hidden treasures buried in the Scriptures. So, we call upon the name of the Lord, for revelation of those facets of His character that He wants us to become acquainted with. And we will find a reward for our searching – salvation for all eternity.
Dear God. We worship You, El-Shaddai, God Almighty. Amen.