Sin is what blocks us from seeing and hearing God. He calls us to holiness, but we disobey, especially, although not exclusively, in the area of sexual purity and love toward others.
Today’s reading: Isaiah 59-61; 1 Thessalonians 4
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2 but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2
7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
The problem is sin. It has been the problem since our first parents listened to the serpent and ate of the forbidden fruit. What did they get? They got the knowledge of good and evil. And we got it, too, along with death! We all find evil attractive, even irresistible. It may be as subtle as a snarky put-down or as grotesque as murderous rage, as imperceptible as a flirtatious glance or as devastating as serial adultery. Sin comes in many colors and shapes, all of them tempting and soul-killing but none of them truly satisfying. Worst of all, it results in our not seeing or hearing God. We tend to conclude He is not there.
Isaiah wrote to ancient Israel telling them that their sin was what was blocking their eyes and ears from seeing and hearing God. It was not God who was hiding from them. He is there in plain sight, seen and heard in His acts of Creation and Providence. Seen and heard in His revealed Word.
Paul admonished the church in Thessalonica with the words, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” (vs. 3a). He then specifically mentions abstinence from sexual immorality for the next 5 verses, topped off with a paragraph about brotherly love.
In case they don’t see the urgency of this, he turns to the subject of the return of Christ, His descent from heaven, the cry of command, the sound of the trumpet, and the resurrection of the dead.When Christ returns, all eyes will see Him. There will be no vacillating. We will be exposed at last. The shouts of rejoicing will mix with the cries of remorse.
Is there hope for sinners? Yes, indeed! For God has done what no human being could do. “His own arm brought him salvation…” writes the prophet (Isaiah 59:16). In the end, “…nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3). The dead in Christ will rise first followed by those who are still alive and “so we will always be with the Lord.” But the time is now. Do not assume there is no God. Assume that it is your sin that blinds your eyes. But He may be found because “all who call upon the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:8-13). Call on Him, today.