“. . . and he called his name Enos: then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Genesis 4:26
Do you have any earthly idea what a mouthful is said in that little piece of a verse of scripture, I’ve quoted above? Even though I have done an exhaustive study and teaching of the book of Genesis, in years past, I somehow let the importance of that short phrase slip by me unnoticed until just the other day. Let me see if I can share with you just how truly important and revealing the last half of that verse actually is.
Verse 25 shares how God gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth. He was “to take the place of,” “to be the substitute for,” their son Abel who was killed by his brother Cain. “Seth” literally means “to put another,” “to replace,” “to substitute.” Eve, herself, says in that verse, “For God ‘hath appointed me another’ seed instead of Abel.” Verse 26 then begins to share how Seth had a son he named Enos, and (in what seems like a somewhat strangely unnessary inclusion of information) the verse concludes, “then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.”
In my study of scripture over the years I have learned that when information is given in the scripture that seems to be strangely out of place or unnecessary, it generally has a very significant or important reason for being there. Thus I decided I better look a little closer. So I took a look at what Enos’ name means. It comes from a root that means “frail, feeble, desperate, incurable.” But the literal meaning is “mortal.” We as mere mortals are frail, feeble, desperate, and incurable. And when we finally begin to realize that, we should indeed call upon the name of the Lord! Isn’t God’s word rich?
Now, let me begin to get to the meat of what I want to say in the light of this passage. I was reading Daniel Henderson’s book, Transforming Prayer, the other day when a quote in it from George Barna’s book, Revolution, struck me right between the eyes. It said:
Eight out of ten believers do not feel they have entered
into the presence of God or experienced a connection
with Him during the worship service. Half of all believers
say they do not feel they have entered the presence of
God or experienced a genuine connection with God in
the past year.
That statement nearly tore my heart in two. Can it be so? Has our worship indeed become that routine, that superficial, that inept, that boring, that powerless? If it has then I believe it is about time, we learned as God’s children did when Enos was born, to begin to call upon the name of the Lord. In our frail, feeble, desperate, incurable mortal-ness, we need to begin crying out once more to God, just like some believers in North Georgia did over one hundred years ago.
The year was 1886. The place was Pine Log. Georgia–just a few short miles from here. The occasion was a revival campaign. The physical temperature was sweltering. After all it was August in North Georgia. But the spiritual temperature was frigid. It was colder than a three-dog night in Alaska’s harshest winter. It was the last day of a ten-day meeting and to that point not a soul had made any sort of move. Not a single soul had been saved. Not a one had come in re-commitment. About the only good thing you could say about the situation was that at least the people weren’t lukewarm. J. N. Sullivan, the visiting evangelist, had just finished fervently preaching his final message, offered an invitation, but once more to no avail. It appeared as if those folks couldn’t be budged with a stick of dynamite.
In feeble desperation and frail frustration, pastor Sullivan dropped to his knees in the altar and began to pray aloud. “Lord, I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say! Lord, if it takes it to move the hearts of these people, then shake the very ground upon which this old building sits!” Before he had even completed that last sentence, nearly 400 miles away, a barely perceptible tremor, then a sound like that of a heavy body rolling along, began in Charleston, S.C. Within seconds the sound became a deafening roar and the tremor swelled to a rude, rapid quiver. Moveable objects began to shake and rattle. Buildings began to collapse. The quake lasted 35 to 40 seconds taking the lives of approximately 60 residents of Charleston, but bringing life eternal to not only ones sitting in the revival service, but many throughout the community, of Pine Log. No sooner had pastor Sullivan finished his prayer for a shaking than the church there at Pine Log began to tremble. Immediately members of the congregation made their way to the altar area. A few of the others rushed out of the building to share with family and friends what was happening and their need to come to church. Revival erupted! Lives were changed not just temporarily but for decades to come here on earth and for eternity in the life beyond. Pine Log was powerfully impacted by the presence of the living Lord!
Desperation: suffering unbearable need and/or anxiety. Desperation: reaching a point of reckless abandon brought on by an overwhelming sense of futility. Desperation: the point of near hopelessness that sends one seeking a last resort. How long will it take before we will realize how feeble, frail and incurable we are? How desperate will we have to get here in America—here in North Georgia–before we will begin to call upon the name of the Lord? To turn this world around we need something far more than mere mortals can muster. We need the earth-shaking power of our awesomely mighty God! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could be said of us, “In the year, 2012, they began to call upon the name of the Lord!”