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Calling upon God

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Asking God to act, in dependence upon him and out of a sense of sometimes desperate need.

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A New Hiding Place

2 Samuel 22:1–33 ESV
And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. “For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears. “Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he was seen on the wings of the wind. He made darkness around him his canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water. Out of the brightness before him coals of fire flamed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice. And he sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen; the foundations of the world were laid bare, at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. “He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt. And the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; with the purified you deal purely, and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down. For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.
II Sam. 22:

Calling upon God as an act of worship

By those who depend upon him and proclaim his name

Genesis 4:26 ESV
To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
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Genesis 12:8 ESV
From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.
Genesis 26:25 ESV
So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
1 Chronicles 16:8 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 86:5 ESV
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psalm 116:2 ESV
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:17 ESV
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.
Job 27:10 ESV
Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?
2 Timothy 2:22 ESV
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Those who do not acknowledge God or call upon his name

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Psalm 14:4 ESV
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?
Psalm 79:6 ESV
Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name!
Isaiah 65:1 ESV
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name.
Jeremiah 10:25 ESV
Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not, and on the peoples that call not on your name, for they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation.
Zephaniah 3:9 ESV
“For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.

Calling upon God in time of need

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Psalm 50:15 ESV
and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Lamentations 3:55 ESV
“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit;
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1 Samuel 12:17–18 ESV
Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
2 Samuel 22:4 ESV
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
1 Kings 18:24 ESV
And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”
2 Kings 5:11 ESV
But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.
Job 19:7 ESV
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.
Psalm 4:1 ESV
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
Psalm 17:6–9 ESV
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
Psalm 18:6 ESV
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 27:7–12 ESV
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
Psalm 28:1–2 ESV
To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.
Psalm 55:16 ESV
But I call to God, and the Lord will save me.
Psalm 86:3 ESV
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Psalm 86:7 ESV
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
Psalm 91:15 ESV
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
Psalm 120:1 ESV
In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
Proverbs 1:28 ESV
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Isaiah 58:9 ESV
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
Isaiah 65:24 ESV
Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
Jeremiah 11:14 ESV
“Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.
Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Joel 1:19 ESV
To you, O Lord, I call. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field.
Habakkuk 1:2 ESV
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
Zechariah 13:9 ESV
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

Calling upon God for his salvation

Acts 2:21 ESV
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
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Joel 2:32 ESV
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
Romans 10:12–14 ESV
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Calling upon God was part of the priestly function of intercession

Psalm 99:6 ESV
Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
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Exodus 17:11 ESV
Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Exodus 32:31–32 ESV
So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
Numbers 21:7 ESV
And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
1 Samuel 12:19 ESV
And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.”
1 Samuel 12:23 ESV
Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
Jeremiah 15:1 ESV
Then the Lord said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!

Examples of those who called upon God

Abraham

Genesis 13:4 ESV
to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.

Moses

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Exodus 17:10–13 ESV
So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Exodus 17:15 ESV
And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner,
Exodus 32:11–13 ESV
But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
Exodus 32:30 ESV
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
Numbers 14:13–19 ESV
But Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. For you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, ‘It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”
Deuteronomy 9:26–29 ESV
And I prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.’

Samuel

1 Samuel 7:5–9 ESV
Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.

Elijah

1 Kings 18:36–37 ESV
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

Jonah

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Jonah 2:2 ESV
saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
Jonah 2:7 ESV
When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

Stephen

Acts 7:59–60 ESV
And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
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