Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 23: 23-24 (ESV)
We all are likely to have times in our life of faith that God seems distant when He is always right beside us. God is always in the process of revealing to us what He is like. In today’s verses there are three questions that we believe are intended to help us know better how God is involved in our lives. As we read the verses we can see that the last question actually contains the answer to the first two. God asks, “Am I only a God that is nearby and not a God that is far away?” Well He is both and all thing time for God is everywhere. He fills heaven and earth. He fills all of His creation. He wants us all to know this because it reveals what a wonderful and caring God He is. There is nowhere that God is not and so no matter where we are, near or far, he is there with us. He is drawing us near to Him and as He is with us today, He is and will be with us tomorrow and forever – He fills our world and beyond.
“Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” Psalm 65:4b (ESV)
When David the psalmist wrote these words of praise to God, he was thinking of the blessings which comes to God’s people as they worshiped in the Tabernacle and later the Temple. The psalmist references these places as God’s courts. In the time these places of worship existed, it was the place where God would dwell among His people. It is the Lord God who chose Israel and who choses us and brings us near to him. We can apply these words to our experience of belonging to God’s family today. We are members of God’s household and we experience many good things because of it. As our verse says we are satisfied with the goodness God provides. We need to remember each day and be thankful that we are blessed because we belong to God’s family. He is our heavenly Father and He takes care of us as we live here on earth. If we open our hearts to Him to fill us, he will fill our lives each day with His blessings. Then we can say as the psalmist said, we shall be satisfied and give God the glory for all He has done.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:4-5 (NASB)
On the matter of rejoicing, Paul the Apostle was unable to say it just once – or even twice. Four times his use of ‘rejoice’ comes in imperative statements – even twice in one which is part of our verse today. Four other times in declarative clauses, Paul testifies to his own rejoicing. But in verse 4 of the 4 chapter in Philippians, Paul is driving home the importance of expressing our joy. But Paul didn’t tell his readers to be happy. He encouraged them to rejoice in the Lord. There are circumstances in which we Christians are not happy. But we can always rejoice in the Lord and delight in Him. Such action is not an emotion but more a state of mind created by our will when we choose to rejoice. Perhaps some will disagree yet it is Paul himself who exemplified inner joy when external circumstances—such as persecution, imprisonment, the threat of death—were against him. Nurturing gentleness means contentment and generosity toward others. It is having mercy or clemency toward the faults and failures of others. Being patient with someone, even submitting to injustice or mistreatment without retaliating. As always, The Lord is near – it’s a promise.
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 (ESV)
Perhaps there are times when you feel distant from your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not uncommon for those who believe to go through trials and testing of their faith. Sometimes it seems that what is before us is insurmountable and like a huge tidal wave it is about to wash over us and take us under. That is the time to remember this promise and call on God. If you have repented and believed on Jesus Christ, you have been saved from the wages of sin and are safe in Christ. Being in Christ is why we can believe that the LORD is near when we call on Him. He is not distant and He is not out of reach of our voice. In fact if we are truly in Christ, then He is in us with His Holy Spirit. This is not hocus-pocus as many who reject Jesus would claim. Our Almighty God is a spirit yet a true person who loves and cares for us enough to offer His only begotten Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sin. He promised this long ago and what God promises, He fulfills.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” – Isaiah 55:6 (NASB)
Our promise today is one that brings thankfulness to our hearts and without fail, we can trust the promise. But, more than a promise, it is an invitation from our Lord God. God is near and being near means he is ‘findable.’ This appeal is for all people, believers, but especially those who have not yet chosen to believe in the only God, our Savior Jesus Christ. What can we believe when we seek the Lord? We can believe that we will receive mercy and pardon. From the beginning of time the Lord has required the same thing for salvation and that is that we trust in Him. Salvation by grace and mercy has always been available to the all who are willing to seek the Lord and call on Him. There is a warning, God can be found only while He is near, which means while His offer is still available. There are also promises of a time of His judgment when it will be too late to receive the mercy and pardon God offers it to us now. Be thankful today if you in faith have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.