Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have come to the first Wednesday in 2019, and Rachel and I would like to express our deep appreciation for your support and tenacity in prayer throughout the past year. I know you are all committed to praying each day, but it is a huge encouragement to know that a certain number of people are sharing the burden of praying for restoration and revival each Wednesday. Thank you.
Psalm 99 records the names of three historically significant Israelite men who “called” to God. It says in verse 6 that Moses and Aaron were among the priests who called upon His name. The duty of a priest was to mediate between the people and God; a priest could talk to both the people and God. What is interesting is that included with these two ancient brothers is another man. “Samuel was also among those who called upon His name” (Ps. 99:6). The word “also” clearly links him with the two earlier prayer giants.
To be among those who called upon His name was a great privilege and honor. It was as a youth that Samuel realized that God was approachable and interested in speaking with him and hearing from him. He learned that if you are going to speak to God, you must first learn to listen to God. That night, when God first called Samuel and gave him an important prophecy, was the start of a lifelong conversation, which continued right to the end of Samuel’s life.
In 1 Samuel 7, Samuel gathered the people together at Mizpah for national repentance. As the people confessed and turned from their sin, he prayed to the LORD for them (1 Sam 7:5). It became a great day of victory as Israel’s enemy, the Philistines, were defeated. A stone was set up as a memorial and the place was called EBENEZER; “Till now the LORD has helped us” (1 Sam 7:12).
In chapter 12, Samuel gave a farewell speech to the people. It was a good day with sacrifices, renewal, and remembrance of a life well lived. It is interesting how Samuel brought in the names of the two brothers, Moses and Aaron in verse 6, and then he said, “Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD” (1Sam 12:7). After he appealed to people to serve the LORD with all their hearts, verse 18 says, “So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day.” God responded to Samuel’s prayers.
Going back to our original text in Psalm 99, the next phrase says, “They called to the LORD, and He answered them.” How staggering! How marvelous! How wonderful that not only did a man cry out to his God but that his God heard and answered! May our hearts be encouraged to make it the tenor of our lives to call to the Lord for help.
If God were doing a rewrite on this psalm, it is my feeling that he would be putting some of your names in it along with Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. You are among those who have “called upon His name” and are trusting Him to answer those prayers.
Love in Him,
Bryan and Rachel