Saturday, June 26, 2010

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seeking God's Mercy

Isaiah 55:6-7 Lesson 3 - Seeking God's Mercy

Isaiah 55:
6 ¶ Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

When you don't have money to pay the bills ... seek ye the Lord
When you don't understand why God doesn't heal ... seek ye the Lord
When you don't seem to be getting answers to prayers ... seek ye the Lord
When you are struggling with sin and can't overcome it ... seek ye the Lord
When you are hurt by those you love the most ... seek ye the Lord
When you are struggling with anger and bitterness ... seek ye the Lord
When you are scared and fearful about tomorrow ... seek ye the Lord
When you question what God is doing in your life ... seek ye the Lord
When you don't know God's will or how you should proceed ... seek ye the Lord
When your children don't love God like they should ... seek ye the Lord
When you feel like giving up ... seek ye the Lord
When you are tired and don't have the strength ... seek ye the Lord
When you are too afraid to witness for Jesus Christ ... seek ye the Lord
When you are empty and emotionless on the inside ... seek ye the Lord
When you are struggling with depression ... seek ye the Lord
When you are living in constant pain ... seek ye the Lord
When you worry about the future your country is headed in ... seek ye the Lord
In every area of life ... seek ye the Lord

1. "seek ye the Lord while he may be found" -- reveals what God is like
  • Why I like the book of Isaiah - it tells us what God is like
  • God likes to be trusted and looked to
  • The socialists taking over our government like to be in power, but they can't provide what they claim. Socialism is a parasite and consuming philosophy that feeds of producing economies. Out of all of man's systems and philosophies, none can do what God claims -- He can provide for those that come seeking answers, strength, wisdom, mercy, grace, etc.
  • Contrast what people are like -- they usually end up treating badly the ones they are supposed to love the most (spouses, siblings, etc.)

2. "seek ye the Lord" -- you don't get rich by seeking riches
  • The way to prosperity is not to seek prosperity
  • Pr 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
  • Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  • The Biblical contradiction is that the way up to heaven is to get down on your knees
  • The way to save your life is to lose it
  • The way to riches, is to give yours away

3. "while he may be found" -- Does this verse contradict passages like Psalm 139?
  • Psalm 139:
    7 ¶ Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
    8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
    9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
    10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
    11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
    12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
  • Practically there are times in a person's life when God is dealing with them over their sin and the conviction is more present than normal than at other times.
  • But this doesn't contradict -- Pr 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
  • And it doesn't mean God is not always there, but you should listen to the Spirit of God when the sweet conviction comes. How many times have you noticed Christians go through a rough time in their life when its almost like they can't even hear the Holy Spirit convicting them of sin?

4. "while he may be found" -- God's mercy endures forever, but is not available forever
God's mercy most certainly endures for ever, Praise God!, but there comes a time when God's mercy is no longer available and He allows people to suffer the consequences of their sin. Does this make God a bad God? Go through Proverbs 1:24-33 and make these points:
  • v. 24 - cross reference to Rom 10:19-12. God has been trying ALL DAY LONG to show His mercy but no one listened. God is a VERY merciful God and willing to pardon.
  • v. 26 - God laughs and mocks at their calamity. Some truths about God are difficult to swallow, but this truth doesn't negate the fact that God has tried over and over to show mercy but man has never listened.
  • v. 27 - cross reference to Pr. 13:13 and show the connection to refusing to heed God's Word ("counsel" in v. 24, "knowledge" in v. 29, "counsel" in v. 30)
  • v. 29 - Hating Knowledge -- The Bible is the only book that you get more out of it, depending on your attitude towards it. You can read a love story and hate the whole thing but still get it all, but you can't hate the Bible and get all the truth out of it.
  • v. 31 "own way" - show connection to Is. 55:7
  • So, the point is that rejecting God's word is rejecting His mercy. God is not a bad God but has always been trying to show mercy. Although His mercy will endure forever, it is not always freely available. We are creatures of time and time governs everything we do. Today is the day of salvation, and while God's Spirit is calling we must listen.

5. "while he is near" -- God is nearer during tribulation than at other times of prayer
  • More so than most of your prayer time, the time God will be nearest to you is when you are going through a hard time because of sin or difficulty or tribulation in this life and you are under conviction from the word of God and know exactly what you need to do.
  • THIS is the time to respond to God's Word.
  • But many times, your prayer time will seem quite dull compared to a time like that because you aren't coming to God with a broken and contrite heart.
  • Example of this past week -- a Christian not faithful to the Lord or the church is struggling to pay the bills. This is the time to draw near to God.
  • The healing hospital power of the Psalms
  • See Psalm 13

6. "while he is near" -- 2nd Coming context for Israel
  • Jeremiah 29:
    11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
    12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
    13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
    14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

7. "abundantly pardon" -- not just our sins forgiven
  • Not just our sins forgive, but ABUNDANTLY pardon
  • Go through the NT Scriptures that show our salvation is way more than just sins forgiven (home in heaven, Spirit of God indwelling/sealing, part of the body of Christ, adopted as sons, chosen to live holy lives, redeemed, forgiven, created for his glory, etc.) -- see spiritual blessings in Eph. 1 for an example

Other points:
v. 7 "forsake his way" - it is always about our way vs what God said. (will cover more in next lesson)
v. 7 a man's way is connected to his thoughts (we will cover more in next lesson)
v. 7 "forsake" and "return" is repentance. A true act of believing is an act of repentance (forsaking self righteousness and love of self and turning to Jesus Christ with the whole heart)

A verse I live by and pray to God every day:
Ps 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Conclusion: What should be our response to God's mercy? I don't want to make you feel guilty, I don't want to use fear tactics, or persuasions techniques, simply show you God's mercy so that you believe it and react accordingly. "we love him because he first loved us"