Drawing Near

Isaiah 44:22 “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

Listen to the voice of the Lord, like a loving Father who calls out to a lost and wayward son, He beckons him to come home. Like a cloud that covers and brings rain, the rain of God’s Spirit washes, purifies, and restores from the dryness and hopelessness of sin. The mist cools and gently reminds us of God’s Spirit that alights within the soul of those who take refuge in Him. The refreshing presence of God restores the soul of the one who was lost.

Can you see the state of our position? We were once slaves to sin, held captive by the curse and destined for destruction. The Lord, strong and mighty, has paid the redemption price. We are now free and He calls us to walk in that freedom.

The Path

Psalm 73:28 “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.”

We may take our eyes off the Lord and soon realize the misery that proceeds it, it’s easy to do. We have so many ways that we can go astray. The enemy tries to distract us through wayward people, pressures of life, or through fear which directs our focus toward our own circumstances and off Him who relieves all fear.

We can take solace in knowing how the Lord keeps the righteous…

Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.”

*Falling signifies stumbling, tottering, or staggering, it means a person is unstable in their ways. The path of sin is unstable and the foundation is corrupt….it shouldn’t be a surprise that by traveling this path it will be unsteady.

Though it may seem you have failed, the encouragement is how the Lord is there to restore.

*When we recognize our error and repent, He picks us up, rinses our feet and leads us back upon the path of Life. The measure of God’s grace is often experienced in calamity.

*The Lord is in the process of restoration. He doesn’t just sit as a bad judge ready to bring trouble upon your head, He is loving and desires to restore, to lead you back to where He originally called you to be.

Isaiah 58:11 “The LORD will always guide you; He will satisfy you in a sun-scorched land and strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. “

I love reading scriptures like this, they always make me feel encouraged and hopeful. It is so easy to pull a scripture like this from the Word of God and just rest in it….but we still aren’t hearing the entire story. Read on and hear the blessed hope of a great expectation:

Isaiah 58:6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?”

The encouragement is to draw near to the Lord by forsaking earthly pleasure. Denying the flesh and seeking after God is a practice that has often been overlooked in christian practice and yet the directive doesn’t end there:

Isaiah 58:7-9 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

The expectation is reflective of what a true relationship with the Lord looks like in practice.

We love God by loving others.

Being generous to those who are in need is determined by a heart that is filled first with the love of God, and when it is filled it spills forth into blessings to others.

The healing that occurs is in the heart of man. The joy of the Lord is evident in His people’s lives and the world sees His light shine through them.

Isaiah 58:10 “If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

The expectation isn’t just drawing near so that we might receive blessing, the expectation is that by living righteously before the Lord in faithfulness, hateful talk diminishes, accusations have no foundation and the focus that was once on ourselves shifts towards others.

We are called to be children of light while living according to God’s purposes, not our own, it is this process of walking in Him that restores and heals.

The path of renewal isn’t long but it is very well defined. We don’t make up our own rules for what God’s process looks like, we follow the way of the Master and allow the restoration of relations between us and God to flow from the pathway of righteousness.

Do you want to experience the goodness of the Lord?

Walk in obedience and you too will know how good, and pleasing it is to dwell in the house of the Lord.

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