Summary: Seek the Lord while he may be found. This is not just for those who need to be saved, it is also for those who daily seek the LORD. How do we find God?
A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. Or is it a disturbed mind? A twisted mind?
I am a strong believer in messy desks. It is not so much clutter to me as leaving things where they are so that I can find them again and continue working on them. A messy desk tells me that something is going on. A clean desk tells me you are lazy. Then I get a strong impulse to go on a cleaning spree and purge the garbage that is really meaningless.
My mother used to come into my room and being a clean freak she would organize and clean my desk. This was so frustrating as I would come home from school and couldn’t find anything. I mean really, you know how us men are, if it doesn’t fall out of the sky and land in our hands we will never find the thing we are looking for. Clean desks are an abomination; messy desks are comfortable.
Finding God is difficult at the best of times. We have talked a lot about salvation in the past few messages, a good reminder for us who are saved, an invitation for those who are not. Finding God is not just about salvation though. Finding God is a daily quest for the godly who want to know the mind of God, or the will of God for a situation they are facing.
Charlie Brown said, “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’” The same is true for a discussion on finding God. This is going to take more than a short sermon.
Isaiah invited the people of God to search for the LORD and discover his ways. I invite you to follow this prescription for yourself and find satisfaction for your souls. What we will find perhaps, is that we will find God in the messy situations rather than the ordered and clean ones. It is the messy situations that remind us to look for God. Here in Isaiah 55 Israel faced a messy situation and here they found God.
1. Come and seek the LORD
The invitation to find God is really intense. In v. 6 we find the second such invitation: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (55:6). This was Isaiah’s additional invitation to God’s original. The LORD made this invitation earlier in the passage: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (55:1).
Isaiah’s invitation suggests that there will be a time when the LORD may not be easily found, he will not always be near. And it is not that the LORD is hiding now but he is waiting to be found, inviting us to seek him. The Bible tells us that we will find the LORD if we search for him with all our heart and soul (Dt 4:29).
We are not in exile like the Israelites were. We may be experiencing an exile of the heart in some ways. God may feel far off as you struggle with mental or physical health, rebellious children or a difficult work environment. It is difficult to feel God’s presence in those heart-wrenching times. Honestly, we don’t always go looking for God in those times but try instead to solve our own problems. How do we find God at times like that?
Isaiah tells us, “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” (55:7). The search for God takes us into a valley of despair, a place of darkness at times, and we wonder where he is. I read somewhere that our problem in this fruitless search is that we need to turn around. All the time we were looking for God he was right behind us. All the time we were searching for him he was following us, seeking us out. If we turn around we will find him.
Isaiah essentially tells us to repent. The “wicked” we may conclude, are the really vile sinners, the murderers and abusers. But the OT understanding of the “wicked” is simply those who disobey the LORD’s word. We need to turn away from our present wickedness – that is, our disobedience, our supposed right to go about life on our own strength. We must leave behind our thoughts, our philosophy which dictates our life and actions. In short, we must admit that we have chosen our own wisdom over God’s.