Summary: This was a sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent based on the Lectionary old Testament Lesson for Year C from Isaiah 55:1-9. If we seek the Lord in the true spirit of repentance, we shall find Him.

Seek the Lord

--Isaiah 55:1-9

Our Scripture reading from Isaiah 55:1-9 is the Old Testament Lesson from the New Common Lectionary for this Third Sunday in Lent. The passage has always been a favorite of mine. After prophesying the sufferings of Jesus on the cross in Chapter 53, Isaiah bursts out in a hymn of praise to God for the blessings the Messiah will bestow on all who seek Him. The Lord led me to specifically concentrate on verse six of our passage this morning:

Seek the LORD while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near. . .

This verse stands out in my faith history for two outstanding reasons: (1.) It was the

text of an anthem our Church choir often sang when I was in high school. (2.) It was a memory verse our evangelism professor had us memorize in seminary.

When we come to God with a seeking heart, we find Him. God clearly gives us commandment and a promise. The commandment is to seek the LORD; the promise is that we will find Him. Our God has always been searching for us. From the beginning of human history He has been the one to initiate the search to restore the broken relationship between Him and His lost creation. He initiated the search beginning in the Garden of Eden and continuing through the crucifixion of His Son on the Cross at Calvary.

Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying His commandment in Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Sin had broken the peaceful fellowship our fore parents experienced with God. Genesis 3:8 records the bitterly sad truth: “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” From that moment on humankind has been on the run, hiding from God.

Overcome with fear and guilt, Adam and Eve hid from God, but Genesis 3:9 shows us a loving, merciful God: “ But the LORD God called to the man, Where are you?” Humanity was crouched in fear and trembling trying to hide their sin from the eyes of a Holy God, but God tenderly sought His lost children. The Lord continued seeking His lost children all the way to Calvary’s Cross. Jesus, identified in Revelation 13:8 as “The lamb slain from the foundation of the world, ” assures each one of us as He did Zacchaeus in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” From Eden to Calvary God has come seeking His lost children.

Still, with this as our background, Isaiah commands us:

Seek the LORD while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near. . .

I am reminded of a similar promise from the mouth of Jesus in Luke 11:9, “So I say to you . . . seek, and you will find. . . .”

Although God always takes the first step in restoring our lost relationship with Him, He places responsibility on us as well. While God has always been seeking us by sacrificing His Son Jesus on the cross, He still commands us to “seek Him” adding the promise with the sure and certain hope that when we do, we will find Him.

There ware two ways we may find anything. Sometimes finding comes by accident. Other times what was lost is found through a deliberate search. When Isaiah and Jesus speak in terms of searching and finding, they mean a deliberate search, not stumbling upon something by accident. Isaiah’s commandment and promise “seek the Lord while He may be found” and the words of Jesus, “seek, and you will find” have the same intent.

Both Isaiah and Jesus call us to make God our number one priority. We are searching for a personal, one-on-one relationship with Him. To seek God is to desire Him above everyone and everything else in life. Our search successfully ends when He truly “becomes our all in all.” God alone is our priority, and we prove it by giving Him all our worship and our absolute obedience. We will find God when we come to Him in the spirit of Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

We must remember the context of the settings of both our text from Isaiah and the promise of Jeremiah 29:13. Both prophets were talking to people who had strayed far away from their God. They had forsaken Him by worshiping the pagan gods of their neighbors. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been carried away captive to Assyria and Judah followed suite by being conquered and exiled to Babylon.

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