#56 for January 31
Have you ever felt like God was far away and didn’t care about you any more? I did. I felt abandoned. In chapter 63, Isaiah calls us back to our first love, into intimacy with the Lord. God wants us to cling to him in trust and let him lead us. But I had gotten off track.As a child and teen, I had loved Jesus above all, but in my early adulthood, in sneaky ways I didn’t recognize, other things or people began to take supremacy. I grieved God's heart and suffered the consequences. I had prayed for a miracle and become angry when God didn't grant it. That showed I didn't trust God. During my journey back to the Lord, I was convicted by this verse: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love,” (Rev. 2:4, NIV) John N. Oswalt gives this warning to those who might think God lovingly allows people to use him, whenever they want something, without committing their lives to him: “He is Almighty God, whose ways are truth and whose law is eternal. To grieve his heart is to fall off a cliff. If he becomes our enemy, all of life will turn against us. Christians who have a sentimental idea of a God who exists for them are in for a rude shock, and it is time that we woke up to that reality....But if we do wake up to it, there is no end to what God will do for us,” (667). The people of Isaiah's day questioned God: “Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?" (v. 17). They felt their problems were God's fault, yet they had grieved God.
Don’t people need to take responsibility for their own actions? Or are we puppets on a string, doing what God makes us do? It is true that fallen humans are unable to respond to God without God softening hearts, but the fact is God has already done everything necessary to reconcile humans with God. We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, (Rom. 5:10) If God lovedus enough to die for us, do you think the problems we have in our lives are his fault? Or could it be because we aren’t trusting him and following his guidance closely enough? (See Rom.8:32).
“To say that they are sinning because God will not let them do otherwise is a grossslander of God, which God summarily rejects in 65:1,” (Oswalt 670). “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,” is the Israelites petition in (Isaiah 64:1-5). God had come down before and done mighty things like parting the Red Sea, and many other miracles he had performed on behalf of his people. Now the exiles want him to come again.