June 29, 2020
“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “That I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 1:3)
One of the greatest truths in heaven or earth is that God is willing to come to us. In one of the last minor prophets of the Old Testament He speaks to His people through Zechariah reminding them once again that He is waiting.
God is gladly willing to return to us, but we must return to Him. The same invitation is repeated in the New Testament. “Draw near to Me,” Christ says through James, “and I will draw near to you.” It is a very, very simple equation.
What would drawing near look like? The waywardness of others in the past teaches us.
“Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.'" But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the Lord. (Zechariah 1:4)
God is speaking all the time through multiple means: creation, the Word of God, the inner voice of the Spirit (for believers), through others who know Him, through prayer. He has made Himself available to us.
But most people don’t get into a position to hear God. We selectively listen. We pay attention when it is something we want to hear, but we do not listen with an open heart for whatever God wants to say.
How could we say that we are interested in returning to God if we are not simply listening? We are not reading the Bible. Praying? Walking with other believers? Getting Biblical counsel? Putting ourselves under the teaching of God’s Word?
God is always speaking. He’s waiting for us to listen.
To “heed” means that we not only listen, but we respond to what God is saying. When He calls us to turn from a sin, we cooperate. When He gives us a command to obey, we aggressively respond. We gladly turn from “evil deeds and evil ways.” When He invites us to know Him more intimately, we step in.
If we listen, but do not obey, we gain nothing from the exchange. In fact, we put ourselves in the precarious position of not hearing at all. For why would God continue to speak if we are not responding? But if we obey, we will discover that God is limitless in who He is and what He has for us. And our greatest joy and life comes from the discovery of Him.
One of the great realities that we will experience in heaven is the realization that we could have experienced so much more of God on earth. As a nation, as a family, as an individual that God is calling, it’s time to return to God.
Father, we long for You. Thank You for making Yourself so available to us. You are not hiding. Thank You for inviting us to walk with You and know You. Give us the grace to understand where you are calling and the grace to listen and obey!
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