“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
There are some encouraging and challenging aspects to this passage. They are often the truths that we either forget or find it difficult to appreciate.
Firstly, the Lord may be found. He is not a God who hides from us. Although He does not parade Himself around for the entertainment of the masses – like Jesus if He had leaped from the pinnacle of the Temple – still He is accessible and knowable. Indeed He said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). He is there for us to find if we are sincere. We were created into a relationship with Him, He has not changed.
Secondly, the Lord is not far away, from where He has to be called back. He is near. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “Closer is He than breathing and nearer than hands and feet.” He is so near to us that He knows our every thought and the numbers of hairs on our heads.
Thirdly, when we do turn to the Lord His delight, which arises from the unfathomable depths of His love, is to have mercy on us and to freely pardon our sins, already dealt with in the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
The first challenge is that God may not always be available to those who ignore Him. The time will come when it will be too late for the unredeemed sinner to be saved. When the Christ appears again the wicked will flee but find no place to hide. The judgement will take place.
The second is that God expects those who come to Him to repent. That is not just to confess their sins but to be prepared to start walking away from them – to forsake them, to leave them lonely and abandoned behind them on the highway of their life, no matter how long it might take – and to seek to walk in the ways of the new life that God holds out to them.
The choices, as always, are ours.
Seek (more of) the Lord, turn (more fully) to the Lord, and abandon (increasingly) with His help the sins that have kept you from Him.
Father, forgive me for those things that stand between us, and which I have not yet abandoned. Please help me to seek and turn to You with more purpose than before and to walk in the way of the Lord. Amen.