Aloha Friday Message – September 16, 2011 – Seeking and Calling


Read it online here.

Isaiah 55:6. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.

Aloha, Beloved. Today I am thinking about this verse from Sunday’s readings. It’s one of those passages that is really familiar, but I haven’t really thought much of until earlier this week. As I researched what it means, I was surprised by its content.

Seek the LORD…” Why? God is everywhere, right? I mean one doesn’t have to go far to find him because he is present everywhere – omnipresent we call it. It doesn’t take much of a seeker to find something that is everywhere. Or does it? We know there are billions who do not know Christ – and therefore do not know God; but, are there souls among those billions who want to know God? It seems reasonable to believe that at least some want to know him and as evidence we have the histories of all the religions ever conceived. Each of them was known by its believers to be the True Religion because through it earthlings “found God.” So it seems to me that there is a history of humanity seeking God, but not all are diligent seekers. Everyone is invited to seek, most everyone does, and a fair amount find him. How?

If we are to seek him, then it must be that we do not automatically recognize and know him; it takes some effort, some willingness, to decide to figure out the fundamental question, “Who’s in charge here?” We want to know that. Who made me, and who made this, and who decides what happens next? How do we earn God’s favor, his blessings, and his friendship? That is the beginning of seeking God. If we do that with a sincere heart, if we do that for the sake of knowing and glorifying him instead of doing it to glorify ourselves, then we begin to find God. And that is good because he can be found as long as we have a life to spend looking for him.

While he may be found, …” Another aspect of the nature of God that we often toss about as if we understood it is “eternal.” God is eternal. He existed before time began, exists now – everywhere, and will always exist. We think of time as linear – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – but all of those are the same thing in eternity. So why would Isaiah say, “while he may be found?” Is there a time-limit on salvation? When I think of that I think of Noah and the day the floods started. Every animal God had provided for Noah to put on board was inside the Ark. They stayed aboard for a week before the rain started – ample time for others to change their minds – and then God closed the door to the Ark (Genesis 7:16); God shut them in and shut everyone else out. There was – and is – a time-limit for finding him. You have to do it when you are alive. He can be found, but the time to find him is now; there’s no redemption after death. Redemption is for the living.

Call upon him…” That is why we seek him. We look for him because we want to ask his favor, his blessings, and his help. That is why Isaiah conveys God’s message to us to seek God. There is nothing higher, more wonderful, or more worthy to seek that God himself. God would not send us a prophetic message to go and look for something that has no value. Actually he spends a lot of time telling us not to look for worthless things like fame and money and pleasures. He wants us to find him, and then get to know him. For you and I and all earthlings, that’s the difficult part, isn’t it? We think we know him and then he does something so wonderful that we realize we will never fully know him in this life.

So when we call upon him, for what are we calling? Everything, it seems. We want all that Worldly Stuff that “makes us happy,” and so we beg him for it all the time. Most of those “callings” go unanswered. Unanswered until, that is, we first acknowledge him as God and change our lives to conform with his. That is the purpose of seeking him and calling him.

To enjoy his friendship and experience his mercy is of more value than anything the world can offer. The sooner we begin to seek and call, the sooner we begin to find and receive answers. The only limit to the seeking, the calling, and the answering we’ve seen so far is that it must be done while we are alive. That applies to every living soul, which means it applies to the whole world and to The World as an entity in opposition to God. The World has a limited lifespan, too.

… while he is near.” Figures of speech like this give us a little handle by which to grasp that which cannot be held otherwise. Let’s think of it as an event – God is near (yes, he is Omnipresent, but hang on a little longer). At what kind of events would God be near and we would notice him? Well, if we look back to when God first reveled himself to earthlings, he did so by speaking to them – Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, and scores of others all listened to what God said. God speaks to us through his Word (the Christ) and his Word (the Scripture). When we are listening, then we are near because he is near. When we see him acting in our lives, he is near. We see him defeat our enemy, and he is near. Whenever we notice he is near – SURPRISE! HE IS NEAR!!

So this passage tells us to pay attention to God’s presence in our lives, and to acknowledge that presence by calling upon him. When we do both of these with the conviction and desire to be with him, near him, as much as possible, then we begin to know him more and more. The more we know him, the more we love him because we know better how much he loves us.

And so, Beloved, this message is one I want you to share. Time is running out, perhaps, for someone you know. That someone may not have begun to seek God. Or perhaps that someone is seeking God “in all the wrong places, and all the wrong faces.” Help them. Selah. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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