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Calling on the Name of the Lord: Pentateuch

By Gianluca Cueva

Can you remember a time when you asked God for something and He answered your prayer, but maybe not in the way you thought He would?

Last Friday we kicked off a series on a biblical theology of prayer. We made note that, “prayer begins in the Bible as a cry for God to do what he has promised.” And as we begin to follow the thread of prayer throughout Scripture, we see Abraham as one of the first to call out to God in response to the promises that were made to him.

Genesis 12 records the threefold promise of: land, family, and blessing that were made to Abram. And in Genesis 15, Abram prays to God in response to these promises (15:3, 8). However, even though Abram calls out to God, and God responds to him, Abram still seeks to take matters into his own hands by seeking the fulfillment through Hagar and not Sarai, his wife (Gen. 16:2). Abram, now Abraham, soon finds that God would answer his prayers, but not in the way he thought or even in the way he himself had tried (Gen. 17:19).

From Isaac, to Jacob and Joseph (Gen. 25:21; 32:9, 41:16), we see that God’s covenant people continue to call out to Him in line with the promises they had received. And most often than not, the way God keeps and fulfills his promises are through unexpected ways (Gen. 50:20).

In Exodus, the Israelites cry out to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex. 2:23). Because He’s the God who promised to grow them into a nation, give them land, and curse those that curse them (Gen. 12:1-3). And even after God makes new covenantal promises with his people, we see that prayer continues to be done in line with the (now new) promises of God (Ex. 32:11-13, 30:34). With the exception of the Book of Leviticus (perhaps because of its focus on atonement being a work of God and not human prayer), Numbers and Deuteronomy continue to model that God’s people are to call out to Him in line with the promises made to them (Num. 11:1-15; 14:13-20), even when His answers may be “no” (Deut. 3:23-26).

As Christians, we call out to God according to the promises He has made to us. Promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6). And though oftentimes, it may seem like God does not come through on his promises, we know that his promises are true: we have not been left as orphans. We have a cloud of witnesses that remind us that God fulfills his promises, even if they are accomplished in unexpected ways. So do not lose hope, God will and does come through on His promises. Call out to Him!