I have a sobering word to share…
It’s one of those things I’m considering and still pondering.
And probably will be for a very long time.
At least, I hope I will be.
Because though sobering, it’s also game-changing.
In a very big way.
I invite you to join me in reading Isaiah 58:1-2:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.”
Does this hit you square in the face, like it did me?
I was deeply moved to read this crystal-clear description of a nation of people who so completely…missed it.
And I don’t want this to be me.
But you know what? If I’m not extremely careful…
it could be.
These people were seeking God out…
And not just your occasional wedding, funeral, Christmas, and Easter kind of seeking.
And not even your once-a-week-Sunday-morning kind of seeking.
They sought Him daily.
And they were eager to know His ways.
They listened during the sermon. They probably asked questions of their religious leaders. And it seems they even asked God Himself about His ways. “They ask Me for just decisions.”
And perhaps most startling at all:
They even wanted God’s presence.
“They seemed eager for God to come near them.”
This picture is looking a whole lot like it’s possible for someone, including you and me, to
seek God daily in His Word and in prayer,
and desire His presence
and still miss it.
Still be sinful. Even rebellious.
They were seeking God’s ways without changing their own…
and seeking His presence apart from their purification.
The verses that come later in the chapter indicate that these very same people were behaving cruelly, oppressing those under their rule, behaving in their own self-interests, and actually fighting with one another.
Oh, they wanted God in their lives. Very much.
But they wanted Him as an add-on to what was already there.
And God never has been and never will be an add-on. For anyone.
Colossians 1:18 tells us that Christ has supremacy. Preeminence.
So we must have Him and only Him, forsaking ourselves and our sin…
or the truth of the matter is,
we don’t have Him at all.
No matter how much we think we might.
No matter how much we read our Bibles and pray.
No matter how much we seek His presence.
No matter how much we seek His ways.
No matter how close we feel to Him.
If it doesn’t actually change us, it’s all just a show.
We’re fooling everyone…
And so, I must ask you as I’m also asking myself…
What evidence is there that you haven’t missed it?
I’m not asking about His provision or His grace or His love this time.
I’m not even asking about your quiet time this morning or last night, or what you’ve been learning about Him in your Bible study.
What have you read recently…and actually applied?
Because I don’t want to miss it. To miss Him.
And I know you don’t, either.
In my next several posts, we’ll keep exploring this matter of missing Him, and discover some common hindrances to authentic worship. If you have an opportunity in the meantime, I would encourage you to spend some more time in Isaiah 58. It offers some wonderful insights.