Crying out to God is the spontaneous response to an urgent need. It differs from typical prayer, which involves periods of worship, petitioning, and intercession; this distraught call focuses entirely on one difficulty. The problem can be heartbreaking news, a dangerous situation, physical pain, or spiritual confusion. Whatever the cause, we seek immediate relief from God.
Like Peter sinking into the sea, we are saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). We call out desperately when bad news comes, because we acknowledge that only God has power to change circumstances. And when we are walking obediently with Him, He will respond: If He does not altar the situation; He will replace fear with courage and confidence.
A cry to the heavenly Father is rooted in faith that He will answer His children. Believers expect God to respond with clear direction, and without fail; He is trustworthy to answer. Exodus 17 details how the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness at Horeb. When the wondering Israelites again grumbled against their leader—this time because of thirst—Moses called out to God, “What shall I do to this people?” (v.4). Instantly, the Lord replied with a solution that satisfied both the Israelites’ thirst and Moses’ despair.
Whether we are sinking in the sea of pain or anxiously seeking a taste of God’s living water, the Lord hears our cries. And He says again, “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver (rescue) him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:15-16).
Shutting Our Ears to the Lord (James 1:22-24)
James instructed us in this chapter: “ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
We are called to the test of obedience: When we fail to listen to God, we pay attention to wrong voices, fall prey to deception, and refuse to submit to the Lord. All three negative results our evident in Adam and Eve’s decision to eat from the forbidden tree. What other consequences result from shutting our ears to God?
First, we will make decisions based on their appeal. To entice Adam and Eve to disobey, the Devil twisted God’s words and misused legitimate desires the Lord had given to the couple. We have the Holy Spirit to teach us how to keep our appetites and desires in check.
Second, we will excuse our wrong doings and blame others. Adam pointed a finger at Eve, and she in turn blamed the serpent. Satan can tempt us, but the responsibility is ours if we consent.
Third, we will experience divine discipline. Not only that, but others will also suffer when we disobey. The first man and woman were cast from God’s presence, and their lives became much harder. Sin entered their family and led to stripe and death—their son Abel was murdered by his brother Cain. Adam and Eve’s choice affected all future generations as well. Through them, sin entered the world and resides in us (Romans 5:12). The Bible warns us: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof (Romans 6:14).
Fourth, we will miss out on God’s best. The first humans lost both Eden’s splendor and perfect communion with the Lord. Unconfessed sin will separate us, too, from fellowship with the Father. Closing ears to God’s voice can happen in a moment’s time. Safeguard yourself. Commit to genuine listening: hearing, remembering, and doing what God says. Where is anchor placed today? Is in Christ the solid rock or in the cares of this world? The world has a lot to offer but God’s choice is far more rewarding and lasting!
In closing: Many people who freely engage in wrong activities are shocked and dismayed to discover the disastrous results that always follow. Why are they surprised? It is probably because they never actually think of themselves as planting seeds of sin: rather, they see themselves as simply “having a good time.”
This is a trademark maneuver of Satan’s. With temptation, he always offers us one thing but then delivers something completely different. Most of you that are listening to this message this morning are experiencing just that. Friend, He will take pleasure in answering your petitions today if you will ask Him.