Zechariah 1:3 – “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, ” Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts.” NASB
What a sobering statement made by the prophet Zechariah. As I read this I felt a chill run up and down my spine. The Holy Spirit quickened my heart and mind with the question, “Can we prevent God from returning to us?” As I contemplated that question I asked myself, “Do we truly have a role in our deliverance?”
If this were the only place in Scripture where this kind of statement was made I might not be as certain of the answer as I am. However, when I read the words of the prophet in Malachi 3:7, I become more convinced. He said, “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, how shall we return?”
I also turn to the Book of Joel and read in 2:13, “And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” The prophet Jeremiah cried out in Lamentations 3:40, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.” Also, Jeremiah 4:1, “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the LORD, “Then you should return to Me And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, and will not waver…”
Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who are weak and heaven laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). When I consider the prayer of 2 Chronicles 7:14 this truth comes home powerfully. When I consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7 that if we seek Him we will find Him I realize that my part in the process is indispensable. He will never violate my will and force me into compliance. Oh, He may allow things to come into my life and to cross my path that powerfully remind me of the error of my ways but force me, that He will not do!
Grace is a Gift and like any gift, it must be received to be enjoyed. Knowing there is a gift does me no good unless I accept it, open it, and incorporate it into my life in the appropriate manner. Tragically, too many are sitting like birds in the wilderness of life waiting to be fed when God is saying, “The table is spread, come and eat.” A banquet or a feast provides no nourishment by looking at the table of food. Only as we dine do we receive the benefit of that meal. That’s the way it is in God. If we do not seek Him or return to Him, we block Him from returning to us.
No, I am not saying He will abandon us, that is contrary to His promise and He never fails to keep his promises. I am saying, that He is standing at the door, knocking and waiting for us to invite Him in. That, to me, make the prayer of Matthew 6 even more powerful, important, and pressing. We are to praise the Name of God, submit to His lordship and pray for His Kingdom and Will to be done on earth the same as it is done in heaven. In the latter part of that chapter, we are told that our seeking of Him must be more important than anything else in life. And we are reminded that if we seek Him we will find Him and if we open the door He will come in.
How many of us have the power to make it on our own? I need thee, Lord, I need thee. Every hour I need thee. I cannot walk without Jesus and I don’t want to talk without Jesus. I want to return to my first love and enjoy the intimacy of His transforming power, spirit, and character to mold and shape me into a man after His own heart. My prayer, “Lord, help me return to you and love, serve, and worship you with my body, soul and spirit.” Can we block or prevent God from returning to us? Yes, but why would we want to do that?
God bless you as you seek Him and find Him on this beautiful day He has made!