Seek the LORD while he may be found!
„"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."”
The main message of today's topic is that there’s no time for hesitation, as we must strive towards God with all our being. The time will come when wickedness becomes so widespread, that God’s Word could not be found (unless it has come already). The opening verse said:
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;"
Most people are satisfied with their relationship with God, and feel like everything is alright. However, our relationship with God could become better over time, the key to which is; to walk according to His will, to keep His commandments – since our lives lay within following God’s commandments. You may think: our lives lay within Jesus, what is this nonsense? Let us see Jesus’ words about this:
„And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."”
Jesus clearly stated that the keeping of the Father’s commandments is eternal life. But our lives doesn’t lay within Jesus then, does it? Of course it does! We must realize the unity between the Father’s commandments and Jesus Himself. What do they have in common? They are one and the same. As we have read in the previous verse, Jesus also clearly stated that He only said what the Father has told Him:
„For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak.”
So Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh. We have spoken about this on multiple occasions and numerous passages helped us reinforce this undeniable reality into our hearts. But let’s look at yet another verse, which confirms all this. We read in the Word when God gave Moses the patterns to the tent of meeting and its equipment, He warned Moses to build it exactly the same way as it was showed on the mountain:
„And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.”
This was because these orders on our earth were the replicas of the heavenly ones. Let’s look at God’s patterns for the Ark of the Covenant:
"They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
Pay special attention to the last verses:
„There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”
God appeared between the two Cherubim and spoke to Moses from there! But why is this significant? By all means this must be a significant detail, since God decided as such regarding the Ark of the Covenant’s build. Jesus revealed the meaning to this as well, namely after his resurrection:
„Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.”
Pay attention to the last verse:
"And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.”
One angel at the head, and one at the feet, meaning Jesus was laying down between them! This was given as a sign as well, so we could understand! There aren’t any insignificant details in the Word of God. Jesus, namely the Word of God, and in other words the speech of God, was between the two angels. Just like on the Ark of the Covenant! This is how He informs us, just as God spoke to Moses from the cover of the Ark of the Covenant between the two cherubim, He sent us His only begotten son, he sent His Word to us to gain life through Him!
„Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
I would like to remind you to today’s title topic: seek the LORD, while He may be found! It was necessary to go off topic just so we can understand: I was referring to God’s Word all along. Because the time will come when mining gold will become easier than to correctly interpret the Word. While the Word of God rests upon the pages of the Bible, it can only be understood through the Spirit:
„At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."”
Jesus said that no one knows the Father except those whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Let’s read a verse which links to this:
„No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
We have read in the previous passage that no one could see the Father, unless through Jesus (“...no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him...”), although in the previous verse we have read that no one can go to Jesus either, unless the Father draws him!
This is quite the dilemma, as we may know the Father through the Son, but we cannot know the Son without the Father. What now, then? How is it possible to know either the Son, or the Father?
We have already been given the key to understand. The key, is that Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh.
We can only get to know the Father through Jesus, namely through His Word, and we can only know the Word if the Father reveals it to us! Because first of all, the Father draws us towards Jesus, to His Word, so that afterwards we can find Him through Jesus:
„"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
But how could we find the Father, if we don’t understand what he says? To put it differently: how could we meet with the Father if we don’t even know His Son? Most people refer to Jesus’ name with great enthusiasm, but the majority of them did not even get to know Him. Because their image of Jesus is based on their own thoughts, feelings and desires, while the real image of Jesus can be seen within the Word. We must not forget that the Father draws us towards the Word, from which we get to know Jesus, and then the Father through Him. To summarise: The Father draws us to Him through the Son. Surely all of you are familiar with the parable of the sower, and the meaning behind it, but let’s revise it:
„"Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."”
The seeds have fallen to four separate grounds. The first fell along the path, where the birds picked them up and ate them, so here is no faith to be discussed. But in the other three outcomes, the seeds have sprouted!
Although two thirds died in the end; namely the ones which fell into the rocky ground and amongst the thorns, but one third fell into good soil, and it bore fruit! Did we see it? Two thirds died, while one third bore fruit:
„In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"”
The two thirds of the believers are those who fall into the problems and temptations of the world (the thorny soil), and those who although are happy, but God’s Word is not the first priority in their lives (the rocky ground). On the other hand, the one third who has real faith and don’t assimilate with the world (take part in wickedness) will bear fruit!
But what am I trying to say with this? Well, although many people identify as believers, yet they have no connection to God, as the Word of God is far away from them and they will never find God through the path of their own heart. Let’s not forget that God’s patience is long, but it’s not infinite. The grace period will end one day, in fact, the hardening of many individuals’ hearts has already come. As the ones who resist the will/Word of God will eventually be hardened by God.
„This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A basket of summer fruit." Then the LORD said to me, "The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them. The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day," declares the Lord GOD. "So many dead bodies!" "They are thrown everywhere!" "Silence!" Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?" The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?" "And on that day," declares the Lord GOD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day. "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land-- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it. "In that day the lovely virgins and the young men shall faint for thirst. Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, 'As your god lives, O Dan,' and, 'As the Way of Beersheba lives,' they shall fall, and never rise again."”
Why will not they find it?
„I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
God hides Himself from people who hide themselves from the truth, who don’t go out into the light, but they stay in the dark instead. As God turned away from Jesus when He took the sins of the world upon Himself, this is how God turns away from the ones who might have hope in Jesus, but live an ungodly life.
„Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.”
Jesus also reinforced this verse:
„So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"”
Notice that nobody wanted to neither kill him, nor take him to crown him as king. Jesus hiding away is given as a sign for them, and also for us. Jesus gave a testimony of the light, then He said:
„While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."”
And straight after saying this, the light, Jesus has departed.
„When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.”
Brothers and Sisters, as long as the grace period lasts, we have opportunities to do God’s will. Finally, I would like to close out today’s topic with the following thought-provoking verse:
„… Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Author: Antal Farkas