Calling on the Name of the Lord in NT - 1

Subject: Calling on the Name of the Lord at Baptism

When we come to the NT, in the 1st Century Church, Christians were taught to call on the Name of the Lord when they got baptized, right at the beginning of their spiritual life. This was Paul's experience when he began his Christian life.

Ananias played a significant role in mentoring Paul at Paul's conversion. His instruction to Paul was: "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, CALLING on the Name of the Lord." Acts 22:16

I've read this passage so many times but somehow these words "Calling on the Name of the Lord" escaped my eyes.  I always knew that Ananias instructed Paul to get up and be baptized to have his sins washed away.  But what about "Calling on the Name of the Lord?"  I never took too much notice of these words.

Obviously 'Calling on the Name of the Lord' was something Ananias and the early disciples did often, thus Ananias exhorted Paul to do likewise.  Notice Paul was exhorted to call on the Name of the Lord at the beginning of his spiritual life, not at a later stage.  The First Century Christian leaders indeed laid a very firm foundation in the prayer life of the newly baptized believers.  We also need to do the same.

Here at baptism, Paul called on the Name of the Lord to have his sins washed away. Clearly calling on the Name of the Lord has to do with salvation, for the remission of our sins. 

The calling is not a mere verbal calling but it is a new beginning to express our faith in obedience to the Gospel. 

The word "Calling" in the participle form describes an action that is ongoing.  This means that "calling" is a progressive continuous action. You keep on calling His Name.  So Paul did not just call on the Name of the Lord at baptism and stopped there, but that he continued calling on the Name of the Lord throughout his Christian life. It doesn't mean that everytime Paul called on the Name of the Lord, he had to get rebaptized again and again. Obviously there is much deeper content involved in this action of calling that threads through Paul's prayer life. This calling on the Lord results in continual rich blessings from God (Rom 10:12-13).  Imagine this!  This is going to be something we will learn together as we move on in these articles.

The application for us today is that we too, must first call on the Name of the Lord to have our sins forgiven at baptism.  

There must be a beginning to call on the Name of the Lord.  

Did you call on Name of the Lord when you were baptized?

We need to get back to this "forgotten basics".   This teaching of calling on the Name of the Lord is not just for the mystics or the mature Christians as we might think.   

Let us exhort newly baptized Christians to call on the Name of the Lord.

In the coming articles, I will go into more detail to explain on this phrase "Calling on the Name of the Lord". This term contains very deep meanings in both OT and NT. 



Topics # 6 - Calling on Yahweh's EVERLASTING Name

Calling On Yahweh's EVERLASTING Name - 7

Subject:  David Calls on Yahweh's Everlasting Name

Today we are going to learn from another servant of God who calls on Yahweh's Everlasting Name.  It is not to say that only these servants of God call on Yahweh's Name.  I specifically chose these men of God because they put a specific FOCUS on the EVERLASTING nature of God's Name when they call on Yahweh's Name.

2 Samuel 7:26

"And let Your Name be magnified FOREVER, saying, Yahweh of hosts is the God over Israel …” 

This is David’s prayer after Nathan the prophet told him that God will make David’s name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth (2 Sam 7:9). 

What would your response be if God desires to make your name great like all the great men on this earth?  Isn't this the kind of success many people are looking for in this world?  

What is David’s response? His response shows that he is truly a man of God.  David doesn't want to hear about having his name being great.  All David cares about is God’s Name much more than his own, "And let Your Name be magnified FOREVER...."

Seriously, ask yourself now:  what is more important to you?  Your Name or God's Name? Most of the time, we care for our name 100 times more than God's Name. When someone says something bad about us, what is our response? We become defensive. When someone slanders us and blackens our names, we want to fight back. 

We are always protecting ourselves and guarding a good name for ourselves. We want to build a good image to our name.  What happens when your boss 'chooses' you above all the other colleagues and 'promotes' you to a higher position?  We feel good.  We say we deserve the recognition.  Slowly and slowly, we become ambitious enough to build a name for ourselves even without our boss.  Sad to say, even Christians leaders are climbing up the Tower of Babel to build a name for themselves and do not care about God's Name at all.

Who cares for God's Name?  Do you?

To my shame also, I find that I am only slowly learning to care for God's Name a little bit more as I spend time and energy to write out these blogs for God.

For today's lesson, we can take away the following points for meditation:

1.  David loves God’s Name.

2.  David cares for God's Name 100 times more than His own.

3.  David wants to MAGNIFY God's Name.

4.  David desires God's Name be mangified FOREVER.  

5.  For sure, David has faith in the EVERLASTING nature of Yahweh's Name.

6.  Here, David calls God “Yahweh of hosts. “Hosts” means armies.  Yahweh is the King of Israel’s armies, on earth and in heaven.  Yahweh's Name lead his armies forward into victory.

Do you care for Yahweh's Everlasting Name to be great?

If you do not have faith, you will continue on to live for your own name and build up your own name in your family, in your career, among your friends, in your church etc.  All these belong to the things of this present age and pass away.  

The only thing that lasts forever is for Yahweh's Name be magnified in our lives. This testimony, like David's testimony, can be passed on from generation to generation.

Let us have faith and call on Yahweh’s Everlasting Name be magnified in our lives.  Our lives will pass away. Only Yahweh's Name continues forever.

This will be the last article on this topic #6 - calling on Yahweh's Everlasting Name.  First and foremost, we must have FAITH in God's Name and recognize God is Everlasting and His Name is Everlasting. Without 'faith', you can call on God's Name but nothing will happen.  With this firm foundation, in our next topic #7, we will move on to "CALLING".

In the meantime, drop me a feedback and share with me your thoughts and insights.


Calling On Yahweh's EVERLASTING Name - 6

Subject: Habakkuk calls on Yahweh’s Everlasting Name

Today we are going to learn from another prophet who calls on Yahweh's Everlasting Name.

Habakkuk 1:12 " Are you not from everlasting, O Yahweh my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Yahweh, You have ordained them as a judgment, and You, O Rock, have established them for reproof.

Habakkuk is a prophet in the Bible.  There are only 3 chapters in Habakkuk and the entire book records the dialogue between Habbkuk and Yahweh God. Habbakuk wrestles with difficult issues, such as why do evil men prosper and go unpunished?

In Habakkuk 1:12, he began his second complaint by asking Yahweh God, "Are you not from everlasting, O Yahweh my God, my Holy One?"

Here, the prophet is not asking God for information expecting an answer. He is using a rhetorical question to affirm his conviction that Yahweh God is everlasting, indeed confirming his conviction to the everlasting nature of God.

In wrestling with difficult issues understanding God and His doings, Habbakuk calls upon Yahweh God in faith. You see this right at the beginning of his prayer "O Yahweh, how long shall I cry for help and you will no hear?" (Hab 1:2)  Can you feel the depth of Habakkuk's cries and his longing for God's answer? Is God indifferent?  Is God inactive?  God then gives Habakkuk a reply.

Habakkuk trusts Yahweh God but it doesn't mean that he fully understands the answer God gives him. Aren't we also like this all the time?  Habakkuk knows God hates evil and therefore does not understand why God would use a nation even more wicked than Judah to punish Judah.  After all, Judah has her problems, but she is still better than the Babylonians.

And then when we get to Hab 1:12, you can tell that Habakkuk has tremendous faith in God. He hangs on to the everlasting nature of Yahweh God that what He says He will do, He will bring it to pass.  Israelites shall not die.  Habakkuk knows that God will not totally destroy Israel because of His covenantal promises to Israel. Even though the Israelites are exiled as captives to Babylon, God will bring them back to the land.

When you have time today, read Habakkuk.  In 3 short chapters, you hear him calling out to God's everlasting name 'Yahweh" 10 times.

Throughout the entire book, Habakkuk calls on Yahweh's Everlasting Name by faith and expectantly waits for God's answer.  God replies him every time. The prophet searches and searches for a deeper understanding from God as he calls out to His Name. We need to do the same too.

The prophets of old do have a very deep relationship with God. When they call out to Yahweh God, they truly have faith in the eternal God who acts and responds to them.

When justice seems to be tarrying, we have the feeling that it will never come, and so faith diminishes.
Let us learn from Habakkuk.  Let us also have faith in our everlasting God who acted in history and continue to act now and forever.  Thus Habakkuk says in 2:4, "the righteous will live by faith."

Let us go forth in faith.