Thursday, January 8, 2015

Does God Give Up On Us?

   As we read through the history of Israel, we can see a theme that repeats itself time and time again. The underlying story is that of God's unrelenting pursuit of His people. In fact, in Isaiah 65, we read the following:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations."

   It's astonishing to me that God - the Creator and Sustainer of all things - would even bother trying to reach out to people who refuse to even acknowledge Him. But the truth is that He always has. Romans 5:6-8 paints an even clearer picture of this:

 "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

   That's such a beautiful, comforting thought, is it not? After all, if God went that far to pursue and save us while we were refusing to even acknowledge Him, how much more will He do for us now that we believe? 
   But is there ever a time when God walks away? Does He ever reach a point when He's had enough of us and leaves us to our own devices?
   Although the answer may shock you, it's...Well...Yes and no.
   While the verses included in the beginning of this post are very warm and comforting, the verses that follow take on a very different tone.
   “See, it stands written before me:
    I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
    I will pay it back into their laps
both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
    says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
    and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
    the full payment for their former deeds.”
   You see, there are times when the Lord is, quite frankly, finished playing games with us. In His patience and loving kindness, He will delay judgment, reaching out to us continually in an effort to draw us back to Him. But when He has decided that we've gone too far, He will not hesitate to let go temporarily, allowing us to face the ramifications of our own disobedience.
   But here's the good news...
   Even if He does decide to turn His back on us temporarily, He does so for only one reason - to draw us back to Him once again. He does this when we begin to allow "little sins" in our lives to continue unchecked, when we refuse to take Him seriously at His word, and when we ignore His constant and continual pleadings to turn away from these things and turn back to Him with our whole hearts.
   In Isaiah 54, we read:
 "In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer."
   You see, the Lord's business is all about redemption. It's all about forgiveness. It's all about making something good out of what was once worthless.
   If you're feeling as though God has turned His back on you, turn toward Him with all of your heart. If you feel as though He's been calling to you, prompting you to let go of the sins in your life that are causing distance between you and Him, don't hesitate any longer. Let them go now.
   He wants you to walk humbly with Him. It is always far less painful to humble one's self than to be humbled by a mighty God.

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