Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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The Pattern in Scripture

Season:  Crying Out   Buy

Dannah Gresh: Our times are desperate! Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says we need to look for help—not inward or outward, instead . . .

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God wants us to look upward, to cry out to Him! And when we do, we’re acknowledging, “We are helpless. We need You, Lord!” We’re humbling ourselves; we’re saying, “We can’t fix this, and nobody and nothing else can fix this. We need You!” And that’s a good place to be!

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for October 5, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy: Okay, I want to give you a sentence that I’m going to be repeating over the next several days, and it’s something I want you to hold on to and remember throughout the month of October in particular—and beyond that—but a special emphasis during the month of October, we’re having here at Revive Our Hearts. Here’s the sentence: Desperate times call for desperate prayers! 

Would you say these are desperate times? No matter where you’re listening today (and we have people listening from all around the world, in different time zones), you would say that we live in desperate times—in your personal life, perhaps, maybe in your family, maybe in your church, maybe in your community, certainly in each of our countries, and for sure in our world. These are desperate times!

What we’re going to talk about over these next days is how desperate times need desperate prayers. So throughout the month of October here at Revive Our Hearts, we’re calling this Cry Out! month. That’s a theme, it’s an emphasis. We’re calling on women throughout the world to join together in crying out to the Lord for what only He can do in these desperate times.

Our team has produced a 31-day email that you can sign up for at ReviveOurHearts.com, if you’d like to get a daily email in your inbox. Starting with whatever day you sign up, you’ll get them through the rest of October. 

Each one has a short devotional and then a prayer prompt for how to cry out to the Lord during this season. I want to encourage you to go to ReviveOurHearts.com and say, “I want to get in on the rest of the month of October on this Cry Out! email.”

Now, “cry out” is a recurring theme throughout the Scripture, and I’m going to lay the foundation for that in our session today. Psalm 34, verse 17 tells us, 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

It’s one of my favorite verses in all of God’s Word. It’s a precious one! 

That’s amazing, that we would cry out—even just one righteous person would cry out—and the Lord up in heaven with seven billion people on this planet would say, “I hear that cry!” It’s like babies in the nursery and the moms are over in church. One baby cries, and that baby’s momma hears. The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and then He does something!

He doesn’t just hear, He acts. He delivers them from all their troubles! That word “cry out” we’re going to look at many Scriptures that have that Hebrew word or a similar one during these days. The word used their meaning, “to shriek, to cry out for help,” as in, “I need you! Something’s wrong, something’s desperate!” The righteous cry out.

Psalm 50, verse 15, uses a little different word but same idea: 

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. 

So I want us to see a principle and a pattern in the Scripture. You’ve seen it in these two verses, but it’s used many other times throughout the Scripture.

There’s a pattern here, a progression, and let me summarize it this way. Number one: As long as we are in this world, trouble is unavoidable. There is going to be trouble. It’s not like we are living in the most troubled days of all of human history. These are troubled days, but there have been other troubled days. 

When the coronavirus is past, when my sweet husband’s cancer has passed—Lord willing—there will be other troubles. When this election is past here in the United States, there will be other troubles. Trouble in this world is unavoidable!

That trouble may be, again, on a small scale. It may be personal, something in your own life or your health, something in your family, your marriage, your children, something in your church that’s really painful. I’ve been sharing with a woman recently who’s from a little church, but it’s going through a massive upheaval. That’s trouble!

Our nation here in the United States—but whatever nation you live in—is going through trouble. Our world is so troubled! It’s unavoidable. There’s no trouble-free day or part of this world. 

But here’s what else I want you to understand: Troubled times, troubled circumstances, are not only unavoidable, but they’re purposeful. They have a reason. Those troubles are meant to get our attention, to turn our hearts toward the Lord and to cause us to cry out to Him! That’s the purpose of these troubles in our world.

To nonbelievers and believers alike, God says, “I want your attention! I want you to know that I’m here, that I have a message for you, and I want You to cry out to Me!” So the trouble you’re facing today, the troubles we’re facing in our world, they’re purposeful. God has an intent for them.

And then, here’s another part of this pattern: When God’s people cry out to Him (which is the purpose of the troubles), He hears, and He answers them. When we cry out, God hears, and He answers. You saw that in the two verses I just read from the psalms.

And then, here’s the last part of this pattern, this principle: When God delivers His people from trouble, God is glorified—people make much of God! I want to remind you that this should be the end goal of our crying out . . . not just that we would have an easier life, not just that my problems would get solved, not just that the person I like would be in office, not just that my health would be restored.

Listen, if you make anything other than God your ultimate goal in prayer, that thing will become an idol. Then God will love you enough to bring more trouble to get your attention and to get you to release your hands, your clenched fists, and give up those idols so that you can cling to Him alone. God is glorified when He delivers us from trouble. 

Now, that’s the pattern, that’s the principle. You see it illustrated again and again and again in the history of God’s people. There’s trouble, people cry out, God hears and delivers, and then God is glorified; then people see how great God is. And don’t we need that today!?

So how does that happen? Let’s look at some examples of it in the Scripture, beginning with the Exodus, the most significant redemptive act of God in the Old Testament, that set the whole stage and pattern for our salvation, redemption in the New Covenant.

In the book of Exodus chapter 2, beginning in verse 23, we read, “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage.” They were slaves for four-hundred years, generations in Egypt! Pharaoh had them in captivity; he used them as his slaves to accomplish his kingdom purposes.

So the children of Israel groaned when that bondage became heavier than they could bear, and what did they do? They cried out, “and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (vv. 23–24 paraphrased).

And then we see in Exodus chapter 3 (the next chapter), in verses 7–8, we see the progression here, the Lord said to Moses, who was not in Egypt at the time. Remember, he was in Midian, hundreds of miles away. But God is hearing, God is seeing, God is remembering, God is acting.

So God comes and speaks to Moses in Midian. God says, 

I have surely seen the [oppression, the trouble] of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the [children] of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them (vv. 7–9).

So there was trouble, there was bondage, there was slavery. God’s people cried out; God heard their cry and God acted. He set in motion a progression to deliver His people, to bring them into a good land.

In Deuteronomy chapter 26, Moses is rehearsing the redemptive history for God’s people, as they’re getting ready to go into the Promised Land. He reminds them in Deuteronomy 26, verses 6-9: 

“The Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers . . . and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (NKJV). 

God has heard their cries. He said what He would do, and then He did what he said He would do. Now Moses is saying, “God has come through!” They’re not in Egypt any longer. They’re not in slavery; they’re released and delivered from that bondage.

You say, “Wow! So they lived happily ever after, right?” Wrong! Just days after being delivered out of Egypt, the people of God faced another crisis! You read it in Exodus chapter 14, verse 10: As Pharaoh approached, having had second thoughts, “Why did I let all those millions of hard workers leave!?” The Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them.

They were terrified—trouble—and cried out to the Lord! We know what happened: God delivered them, took them through the Red Sea on dry ground, and then sent the Egyptian army into the Red Sea and caused the floods to come and put them under the judgment of God.

Fast-forward to the period of the judges. You’d think having been through the Exodus, and having been through the Red Sea crossing, God’s people would never, ever forget Him. You’d think we would never, ever forget God after all the amazing things He has done for us, right?

But you come to the period of the judges, and there is this cycle over and over again. Let me read to you just one instance, in Judges chapter 3, beginning in verse 7: 

The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and [they] served the Baals and Asherahs [the false gods of the nations around them].

Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them [God sold them into captivity!] into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years” (vv. 7–8 NKJV). 

(I’m not sure I said that exactly correctly; I need to brush up on my Hebrew.)

But God sent them into captivity. God brought a pagan enemy to conquer God’s chosen people! Why? Trouble is purposeful, right? God is trying to get our attention; He’s trying to get us to cry out to Him . . . and it worked!

Look at Judges 3:9: “When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them . . .” The Lord sent the conqueror, the trouble and the Lord sent the deliverance when the people cried out to Him. Again and again you’ll see this throughout Israel’s history.

In Nehemiah chapter 9, the Levites at a great big, long worship service are rehearsing Israel’s history for them. In verse 27 they say, 

You handed them over to their enemies who oppressed them, but when they were oppressed, they cried out to You. [From heaven you heard them] and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers who rescued them from the hand of their enemies. But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. 

Does this sound modern day at all? I mean, is this us? It is!

Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they [ruled over] them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them, time after time (vv. 27–28 CSB paraphrased). 

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t get tired of our coming back to cry out to Him again and again, time after time?!

Let me give you several other illustrations, and once you see this pattern, you’ll see it all through the Scripture. In 1 Chronicles chapter 5 the Israelites were attacked by their enemies named the Hagrites. Verse 20, “They were helped in fighting them, and God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them because they cried out to Him in the battle” (paraphrased).

He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. In 2 Chronicles chapter 18, verse 31, King Jehoshophat is leading the people of Judah in battle against the Syrians: 

So it was when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshophat . . . that they surrounded him to attack, but Jehoshophat cried out and the Lord helped him and God diverted them from him (NKJV).

Listen, I’m telling you, God is the King of armies; God is the Lord of hosts! And all these things happening in our world, they are not outside of God’s control. When God’s people cry out to Him, He will move heaven and earth to accomplish His redemptive purposes, to glorify Himself.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 32, King Sennacherib and the Assyrians attacked the nation of Judah. Verse 20, “Now because of this, King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven. Then the Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria” (paraphrased).

The people of Judah were hopelessly outnumbered! There was no chance of survival, much less of conquering the enemy. But God sent an angel to accomplish His purposes on earth when He got His people’s attention, and they cried out to Him.

Well, that’s all about the Israelites, the people of Israel, in a corporate sense. But sometimes the need is more personal, more individual, and I think a great example of that in the New Testament is when Peter walked on the water to Jesus. 

Matthew 14, verses 30–31 say, “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid [that’s understandable, isn’t it?]; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus [who is God!] stretched out His hand and caught him.” (NKJV).

Trouble causes us to look up and cry out. God hears; He delivers; He saves us; He rescues us. Let me just make several observations as we think about these passages and others, about this pattern, this principle, in God’s Word and what it means to us and how we apply it in our own lives.

First of all, I think it’s obvious to say that we don’t typically cry out until we’re in trouble. I don’t call 911 if everything’s hunky-dory at our home. I don’t call for an ambulance if there’s not a need. We don’t go to the emergency room if there’s not a crisis. We don’t typically cry out until we’re in trouble.

And you know what that reminds me? Something you’ve heard me say many times: “Anything that makes me need God is a blessing!” These troubles that we’re going through, these troubles that you’re going through, these troubles that our countries are going through, these troubles that our world is going through, these are blessings if they get our attention and cause us to look up and cry out to the Lord! We don’t typically cry out until we’re in trouble. 

And then, here’s a second observation: When we are in trouble, our first inclination is not typically to cry out to the Lord. I wish it were. I wish we would cry out to Him all the time, and once we’re in trouble, wouldn’t it be great if our first reaction was, “Oh, Lord! We need You!” But it’s not typically our first reaction. 

We tend to look outward or inward before we look upward. So when we’re in trouble, we may cry out to something or someone else that we think can help us, looking outward, looking around. We may look to a bank or a job or an employer or a government program or a political party or a candidate or maybe a trusted friend or a therapist or our mate. Now there’s nothing wrong with others helping and encouraging us, but none of these things are a substitute for God Himself! They cannot do what only God can do.

I’ll tell you what else, God can render all those people and programs and things and systems powerless, impotent to help if that’s what’s necessary to get our attention and to bring us to a place of desperation and utter dependence on Him. So sometimes we look outward.

Sometimes we look inward. We turn to ourselves: “I can fix this! I’ve gotta figure this out!” It’s like a two-year-old: “I can do this! No, mommy, no help, no help, me do this!” And we’re two-year-olds at heart. “I can do this!”

We look at the problems of the world and we think, Oh, if we just get this political party in the White House, (or whatever it is in your country), we can do this. We can fix this; we can solve this.” We’re looking inward; we’re looking to ourselves.

God wants us to look upward, to cry out to Him! And when we do, we’re acknowledging, “We are helpless. We need You, Lord!” We’re humbling ourselves; we’re saying, “We can’t fix this, and nobody and nothing else can fix this. We need You!” And that’s a good place to be!

Here’s another observation: We may never see what God can do and would do until we cry out to Him. So we’re struggling, we’re chafing, we’re trying to fix our problems, we’re trying to manipulate our way out of them. I just kind of picture God in heaven going, “You want to solve this, or do you want to let Me solve it?”

I think sometimes God just leaves us to ourselves and our own devices. But He’s waiting to help. We may never see what God can do. You think this situation is impossible. There’s no way to deal with this! And God is going, “There’s no way for you to deal with it, but I could deal with this.” 

He can send His angel to wipe out those who oppose Him, if that’s what’s necessary for God to be glorified. The God who delivered His people in trouble in the biblical days that we just read about, He’s the same God today! He can deliver His people; He will deliver His people.

So you’ve talked to everybody you know. You’ve cried out to them; you’ve posted on social media; you’ve cried out to all these followers that you don’t even know. The question is, have you prayed about it? Have you asked God for help? Have you cried out to Him? When we cry out, God will hear, and He will answer.

Now we’re going to talk over the next couple of days about sometimes when it seems like God doesn’t hear or seems like He doesn’t answer. But His Word promises when we cry out, He hears and He answers.

So what trouble are you facing today? I probably should say “troubles,” because for most of us there are troubles. Certainly, for our world there are troubles galore, massive! What impossible, desperate situation are you facing—a prodigal son or daughter, financial loss that’s devastating, irreconcilable differences in your marriage, sin you can’t overcome, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, a burden that is so heavy for your family, for your church, for your nation, for this world? These are troubled times; these are desperate times! And desperate times call for desperate prayers.

So I want to appeal to you—not only today, but throughout this month and beyond—to join an army of women around the world who are not only listening today, but who are saying, “We will cry out to the Lord! We are helpless apart from His help!” I want to invite you to cry out with us.

Dannah: Oh, I couldn’t agree more with Nancy’s heart and intention. In just a moment, we will cry out to the Lord together. That’s our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, showing us the pattern we find in the Scriptures: God’s people cry out in desperation, and then He answers them. And these certainly are desperate days! This month we’re challenging you to join us in crying out to God.

If you’re not already signed up to receive the daily Cry Out! email encouragements, it’s not too late to do so. These emails will provide some tracks for you to run on as we turn our hearts to crying out to the Lord. 

For more information or to sign up, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. In just a moment, we will cry out to the Lord together, but first let me ask you: Where or to whom do you turn when you find yourself in trouble? What’s your default in desperate times?

Tomorrow, Nancy will show us from God’s Word why it needs to be turning to the Lord. She’ll talk about crying out when we’re in deep trouble. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts, but now, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: My dear friend, Leslie Bennett, serves on the Revive Our Hearts team as the Director of Women’s Ministry Initiatives. She serves our women’s ministry leaders, just to resource them, to encourage, to pray for them, to encourage them in the work they’re doing in our local churches . . . which, by the way, has been so difficult during this time of COVID!

Leslie is a friend who is helping; she’s a friend to these women’s ministry leaders; she loves to help them. She’s been listening to our session today from her home in South Carolina. Leslie’s a woman of prayer; in fact, she leads a group of women’s ministry leaders each week on Facebook in crying out to the Lord.

I’ve asked Leslie if she would close our time by leading us in crying out to the Lord. If you’re able wherever you are, whatever you’re doing right now, I want to encourage you to just stop, maybe even get on your knees if you’re physically able, and let’s join our hearts together with Leslie as she leads us in crying out to the Lord. Here’s Leslie.

Leslie Bennett: Heavenly Father, what a privilege and honor it is to come before Your throne of grace! We have heard of Your mighty acts of deliverance in the past, and now Father, it is our time to cry out to You in desperation for our day!

Everywhere we look, Father, we are surrounded by fires and smoke and thunder and winds and hurricanes and violence, death, destruction, hatred against the Lord! The world as we know it is crumbling all around us! And so we look to You, Father. You are our only hope in these days. You are our only help in times of trouble.

As we turn our hearts and our eyes to heaven, Father, we thank You now that you hear every little whimper, and we do not have to scream and shout and flail our arms, Lord, because we are Your children. You are our Father. You have not left us as orphans. We have Your very great and precious promises! 

And so, Father, we ask, when will You come? Do You tarry until we cry out? Send Your Spirit, oh Lord, stir us to pray. Lord, even the desire to pray doesn’t come from us, it comes from You. 

So stir us, move us, shake us, whatever it takes, Lord! Bring us to our knees. And God, open our tear ducts, cause our eyes to flow with tears of brokenness and repentance and obedience, humility. Lord, James called us in James 4 and he said to wretch, to mourn, to weep. “Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you. (vv. 9–10 ESV)

And so, Father, for every woman listening today, I pray that each one of us would fall on our knees, that we would raise our hands high, and that we would say, “Send me, Lord!” We would join that army. Send us into the battle that is raging between the kingdoms of darkness and the kingdoms of light. Let us be the wailing women of our generation. Father, that we would not pray just once or twice and go about our way, but that we would be women who are characterized as women who agonize in prayer . . . as in giving birth to a child . . . that we could keep praying until You answer and You bring revival once again, that we would tremble at Your Word until Your Spirit comes down. 

Father, we don’t want to get to heaven and You say, “Why didn’t You ask me? I was ready to give and I was ready to answer!” And so, Lord, only You are worthy to be praised. Only You are able to answer our prayers. We magnify Your Name, Father, and we long to see your glory fill the earth as the waters cover the seas! (see Hab. 2:14) We long as Israel longed for a savior! And we long for our Redeemer to return and establish a new heaven and a new earth—that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (see Phil. 2:10–11).

In our generation, and for all generations to come, all glory to Christ Jesus in the church, in whose name we pray, amen! 

Nancy: That’s crying out! Desperate times call for desperate prayers. Amen.

Challenging you to cry out, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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