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The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Directions For God-Seekers

Isaiah 55:6-10

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

INTRODUCTION: I was back in familiar territory last Friday, visiting a town where I had lived and worked for 13 years. I was at a gas station and there were some out of town folks who wanted to know how to get to the High School. Since it was Friday night, I surmised that they were planning to attend the Football game. They asked to go to the High School, but that’s not where football games are played in this town. They needed the right directions. Today’s text provides us with some directions too. Speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, we are given: Directions For God-Seekers.

I. Seek Him while you can

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

qarab A primitive root; to approach (causatively bring near) for whatever purpose: See the parallel in Esth. 4:11. See also Rom. 5:1-2 and Eph. 2:13-18.

"Call upon him while he is near"–the idea here is "approachability."

A. Your time has limits–Heb. 9:27; Gen 3:19; Ps 89:48. Text, v. 6

B. No chance for grace in eternity–Lk. 16:26

II. Seek Him with a repentant heart–text v.7–and you will receive mercy

Cf. Ezek. 14:6, 18:32; Matt. 11:20ff., 21:32; Lk 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; Rev. 3:3. Et.al.

III. Forsake your thoughts and embrace His thoughts

A. Notice that forgiveness is the only way we can enter eternal life–v.7

B. Notice that there isn’t a whisper of human accomplishment–Eph. 2:8-9

C. The only way to eternal life is by God’s grace and mercy–John 3:16-21

(Note: While this text is often used in the event of tragic death and other incomprehensible turns of life, that thought is not present here. The issue is returning to good standing with God and that is through repentance and faith.)

IV. God provides the way that we may think His thoughts after him–text, v. 9-11

A. Our natural way of thinking leads to death–Prov. 14:12

B. Only God’s Word has the power to change our thinking–Cf. John 6:63; Rom.         10:17; 1 Cor. 1:18-19; I Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:23-25.

Notes:

Holman Bible Dictionary “Pardon”: An authoritative act reversing a sentence given under a guilty verdict. Prayer for God’s pardon for sin is based on the greatness of God’s covenant love and on the long history of God’s acts of forgiveness (Num. 14:19; Mic. 7:18). The Old Testament believers were already aware that the condition for seeking pardon was a repentant heart rather than ritual exactness (1 Chron. 29:18). God’s willingness to abundantly pardon serves as an incentive to repentance (Isa. 55:7)

MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Matthew 1-7 Presumption hinders mourning because it is really a form of pride. It recognizes the need for grace, but not much grace. It is satisfied with cheap grace, expecting God to forgive little because it sees little to be forgiven. Sins are bad, but not bad enough to be confessed, repented of, and forsaken. Yet the Lord declared through Isaiah, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:7). No pardon is offered to the unrepentant, presumptuous person who refuses to forsake his sin. The gospel that teaches otherwise has always been popular, as it clearly is in our own day; but it is a false gospel, "a different gospel" (Gal. 1:6), a distortion and contradiction of the gospel of Scripture.

The Treasury of David, Psalms 58-110  Charles H. Spurgeon: An upright heart will not be satisfied without hearing God speak peace to his heart by his Spirit. And for this he will pray, and wait, and hearken, and when God speaks peace, there comes such sweetness with it, and such discovery of his love, as lays a powerful influence on the soul not to turn again to folly. This peace is an humbling, melting peace, which brings humiliation to the soul as well as joy; but this never happens when men speak peace to themselves.—John Berridge, 1716-1793.  

Rev. Wayne Dobratz  

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