Monday, April 30, 2012
Today’s Topic: Can They Hear Him?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 65:1 (NIV) “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
Is it possible that there is a time limit on God’s grace?
Before you try to answer that, be advised that the question is fundamentally flawed. When we attempt to put any sort of human limitations like time and space on God then we have asked the wrong question. God is God because He never ceases to be perfect. He does not set aside justice to be merciful – He is both always. He doesn’t set aside love to judge sin and sinners – He is both always.
I know, pretty deep for a Monday morning, but stick with me. Beyond our understanding, God is eternally perfect, not limited as we are to time and space, and certainly not limited to single expressions of the heart. He is always fully God in every way all of the time.
But when God became incarnate in human existence in the life of Jesus, He took on time and space. The human race was able to see, for the first time, the full glory of God. It’s described for us in John 1:14 when the disciple Jesus loved wrote under the power of the Holy Spirit of God these words: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Grace and Truth – the glory of God. Both always. In human time, He showed love to those who were lost, while showing truth to those who claimed to already know it. He spoke words of grace and compassion to the needy and spoke words of anger and judgment to those who were self-righteous. Different times – same Jesus who was God in human flesh. He was Truth when He showed Grace, and He was Grace when He spoke Truth.
Why have I spent time on this? Because God reveals to us today through the prophet Isaiah that from a human perspective there is a time coming for many people when God’s grace will come to an end. For now, though they reject Him, He is still making Himself available to them. Even though they do not ask for Him, He is still responding to them. When they are not looking for Him, He keeps showing up in their lives. He is offering His grace to them.
Read these words of grace from verses 2-5. All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; who eat the flesh of pigs, and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat; who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!’ Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.
God’s grace is being extended even to those who are in constant rebellion against Him. But the time is coming when He will manifest His judgment on them. Look at what else Isaiah says: “See, it stands written before me: I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps—both your sins and the sins of your fathers,” says the LORD. “Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains and defied me on the hills, I will measure into their laps the full payment for their former deeds.”
Do you see it? Do you see the truth that God is both always? While He is extending grace, it stands written before Him that He is also just, and will impose judgment on all those who have rejected Him.
Here’s your connecting point – the time of His judgment has not yet arrived. We are living in the age of grace. Yet we tend to seek justice before its time. We tend to be judgmental and critical rather than the expressions of grace and love. We who cannot be all things at all times as God is have chosen to be the wrong thing.
We are called to a mission to make disciples, expressing the love of God to a lost world that rejects Him. It is by our love for God and for one another that the world will know we are the followers of Jesus. Over and over again we are both commanded and encouraged to grow in love and grace, but never in judgment. It is time for us to rise up as the people of God reflect the current expression of God’s nature to the world around us. Let us boldly and courageously live according to the heart of our Lord so that it may be said of us –
To those who have not asked; to those who have not sought; to those who have rejected and rebelled; WE SHOWED THEM GOD’S GRACE AND LOVE.
Maybe then they will finally hear Him.