From Paul’s Pen

            A very popular hymn is based on Psalm 4 and entitled Hear Me When I Call. Brother Teddlie expresses so well how we often feel as we go to God in prayer. We are so dependent on our Creator and Savior that we want to make sure He hears us when we call out to Him for help – not just in an emergency but for our daily needs. Because of what Jesus and the Holy Spirit have promised, we know the avenue of prayer is always available (John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:15-16)!

            There’s a very sad story recorded in 1 Samuel 8 when Israel demanded a king like all the other nations. Of course, Samuel took their request personally and thought they were rejecting him as their judge. You may recall how the Lord reassured Samuel in verse seven that they were not rejecting the prophet – they were rejecting the sovereignty of God Himself.

            But there’s a statement often overlooked that should have scared the living daylights (pardon the slang expression) out of the Israelites. After the Lord warned the people through His spokesman Samuel what a king would do to them, they were still adamant about wanting a king. The ending of the Lord’s warning by Samuel is in verse eighteen: “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” It may be a matter of semantics, but the inspired writer does not use the normal Hebrew word for “hear” in this verse. Rather, he uses a word meaning “answer” and that is the rendering in most modern translations.

            What a helpless feeling if we knew God would not respond in any way to our prayers! Yet the foolish Israelites wanted a king more than the God who hears and answers prayers. Is it possible that we might choose to be like everyone around us rather than having Almighty God answer our prayers?