6“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while he is near;
7let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Seven hundred years before the Person of Jesus Christ arrives in Bethlehem as an infant, the Prophet Isaiah pens these words of reconciliation and peace coming from the God we have offended by our sin. As with all the prophets, Isaiah’s message is one of “repent and turn back to God.” That brief phrase sums up their message, written over a few thousand years to a people who seemed to avoid heeding it. Lest we cast stones back at them for their belligerence, we must understand that we haven’t made any improvements in the human condition since that time. We are just as stubborn and stiff-necked as they.
The hopeful tone of this passage cannot be missed. The Lord is ever-present and ever searching after us. When we turn to seek Him, we will find that He has already been looking for us as the faithful Father waiting for a wandering child. This passage begins with its key word: seek (the Lord). The usage here is a combination of two Hebrew words – baquash – “to look for” and darash – “care about, examine, inquire.” In Hebrew culture the Lord is sought in three ways. Unbelievers do not seek God. Believers seek Him in an attitude of repentance, not selfishness.
- Through calling on Him in prayer
- Through consulting the Urim and Thummim (administered by the high priest)
- Through the study of His Word.
These words remind us that we are in relationship with a God who desires that relationship with us and allowed the death of His Own Son to ensure that is even possible. Because of the work of Jesus Christ, seeking God with a repentant heart will always end in “finding Him.” As we ponder this miracle, remember that we seek a God not because we have made a decision for Jesus for our sin doesn’t allow us to make that decision. But we find Him because He is already actively search for us. When you play hide-and-seek with a two-year-old, you don’t hide in the darkest corner of the basement behind the winter coats. No, you stand in the corner where you are easily seen because the game isn’t about seeking – it’s about finding the one you love and celebrating your reunion after a count to ten. Jesus won our reconciliation with the Father through His blood. Isaiah may not have known exactly how that peace was going to be restored, but he plainly knows that reconciliation is necessary for us to be returned to the Father who loves us. Read the passage again and let the Father find you with His Word to us from Isaiah.