Summary: Calling on the name of the Lord requires more than just speaking the name of Jesus.
In order to attract unbelievers, a number of churches around the country have incorporated secular music into their worship services. Among their favorite tunes is the James Taylor classic “You’ve Got a Friend” which includes these lyrics:
When your down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again.
Winter, spring , summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a friend.
If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
And soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
It’s not hard to see why this would be such a popular choice. If we take and apply this song to God, then the implication is that if we are down and troubled, all we have to do is to call out God’s name and no matter where we are, He’ll come running to see us again. Unfortunately, there is just enough truth mixed into that philosophy to deceive us into buying into that idea.
It is true that the idea of calling on the name of the Lord is prevalent throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. But perhaps the best overall treatment of that concept is found in the passage that we’ll look at this morning in Zechariah chapter 13. Go ahead and turn there in your Bibles and follow along as I read the entire chapter:
1 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
2 “And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. 3 And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, 5 but he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.’ 6 And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’
7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who stands next to me,”
declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;
I will turn my hand against the little ones.
8 In the whole land, declares the Lord,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
and one third shall be left alive.
9 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.’”
Once again, this is a passage that applies specifically to Israel, which Zechariah refers to here as ‘the house of David”. This chapter continues the prophecy that began in chapter 12, which we examined a couple of weeks ago and which deals with the return of Jesus and the salvation of Israel when they look upon Jesus in faith. But just as we saw then, even though the prophecy deals primarily with Israel, there are principles that we can glean from this passage that we can apply to our lives as well.
In order for us to be able to do that, it is essential that we begin by identifying the key verse, or the “box art” for this passage. Only then will we be able to put the rest of the passage in its proper context. After reading through this passage several times, I’m convinced that we find that the key verse is the last part of verse 9.
Key Verse (v. 9)
They will call upon my name,