Return To Him.
“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.” – Isaiah 30:18 NLT
God is waiting. Waiting for His people to return to Him. Sometimes He uses discipline to get our attention. He allows us to go through difficulty to increase our need for Him. He lets us discover that all the other things we turn to for hope, healing, satisfaction and salvation can’t deliver. They always disappoint. But He is always there waiting. He reminds us through the prophet Isaiah, “He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes” (Isaiah 30:19-20 NLT). This promise reminds me of the words of Job that he stated at the end of his season of suffering and shame. “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5 NLT). Job was a blameless and righteous man when his story begins. But suffering came his way and tested his faith and his view of God. He knew a lot about God, but his season of suffering was going to open his eyes to the reality of who God really is. Job’s suffering was not the result of rebellion or sin, but God used it in his life to bring him to a deeper understanding of Himself. Job grew closer to God through his trials than he ever would have otherwise.
God was calling the Israelites back to Himself through the prophet Isaiah. But they were stubborn. They would not listen. They refused to pay attention to what Isaiah had to say. They didn’t like his message of doom and gloom. In fact, they were telling the prophets, “Stop seeing visions! Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your Holy One of Israel!” (Isaiah 30:10-11 NLT). They didn’t want to hear the truth. They didn’t want to listen to what God had to say. They would rather be lied to as long as it was what they wanted to hear. But God reminded them, “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me – The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do” (Isaiah 30:15 MSG). God was offering salvation, and all they had to do to receive it was return to Him. They had to turn away from their pseudo-saviors and God-replacements, and recognize that only God can truly save. He alone can rescue. And He promises to hear us when we cry. He promises to be gracious if we ask Him for help. But returning requires turning. We must walk away from our sin and all those substitutes we have made for God in our lives. We must acknowledge our need for Him. And when we return, He always responds. He is faithful.
Father, we can be just as stubborn as the people of Israel. We can be just as prone to trust in other gods and reject Your Word. We want to hear good news and don’t like to listen to anything that convicts or condemns us. We don’t like having our sins pointed out to us. And we reject suffering in our lives as unacceptable.Yet You allow us to suffer in order to make us more dependent on You. Even the suffering we see happening all around us is a reminder of just how much we need You. Open our eyes. Soften our stubborn hearts. Help us return to You for salvation and restoration. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men