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Calling on the Name of the Lord: Prophetic Books

By Gianluca Cueva

Most, if not all of us, can remember a time when we called out to God in a moment of despair and distress.

This week we look at the prophetic books. From Isaiah to Malachi, from the division of the kingdom and the invasion of the nations, we see the people of God cry out in their exile. So what does prayer look like in the prophets? It’s a cry for God to do what he has promised, because he’s already in part, done what he has promised. God not only promises blessings but also curses for disobedience (Deut. 28). And the Israelites unfortunately chose disobedience.  

The largest, and perhaps the most influential prophetic book, Isaiah, speaks to the disobedience of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Isa. 1:2). So in the midst of distress and God’s judgment, what’s Isaiah’s response? Isaiah still waits upon and calls upon the name of the LORD because God’s promises will not only be judgment, but also grace and their only covenantal hope (Isa. 26:8-13). For many of us today, even when we reap from the sin we sow, we can still call out to God in our moments of distress, because He has promised forgiveness and grace in Christ.

Following Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, teach us in moments of deep darkness (i.e. the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem), even when God’s promises seem done and gone, we need to continue to call out to God. Jeremiah cries out, questioning God’s covenantal promises, and yet still setting his hope on God (Jer. 14:19-22). Even in utter darkness, Jeremiah audaciously and blatantly asks to be renewed and restored (Lam. 5:1-22). It’s when things seem most bleak that we must cry out in prayer, not be silent.

But not only the “major prophets”, but also the “minor prophets” teach us that despite moments of despair, we should not grow discouraged, but to cling to God’s covenantal hope (Am. 7:2-9; Joel 2:17). When we face troubles in this world, as Jesus himself promised us (John 16:33), we know that trouble is not all there is. Jesus also promised us that He has overcome the world. Therefore, like the prophets, we too can continue to call out to Him, especially in those moments of deep despair. Brother, sister, no matter where you find yourself as you read this, continue to call on the name of the Lord, for He is acquainted with our sufferings and despair.