Paul told one of his disciples to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). The virtues listed here are religious meat and potatoes, but it is the company around the table that I’d like to consider: “those who call on the Lord.”
That’s not typical terminology for us, but it may be the first proactive descriptor of worshippers in the Bible. It’s in Genesis 4 that men “began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)
To “call on” means not only to depend on, but to depend on consciously, verbally. It’s especially applicable when men are in trouble and distress (Psalm 118:5; 120:1); they call on the one who can guide and protect. It’s applicable for our greatest trouble, sin, with its guilt and our awareness of just judgment against us, and we call on the one who can forgive and restore. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, cited from Joel 2:32).
And this is a group that can be distinguished. Paul knew a lot of other labels, including those called by God, but these are those who call on God.
What an encouragement that we are not alone, that our life as disciples is connected to our life in the assembly. When we are having a hard time, we are with others who are calling on the Lord. when others are having a hard time, we know what to do: call on the Lord.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
Let us be those who call on the Lord from a pure heart, and that reminds us to confess our sins.