Friday, September 2, 2011

The Lord Is Near

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. ~ Psalm 145:18-19

Oh, what comforting words for the Christian! "The Lord is near." But is it not true that even for the most mature believer, our good and loving Lord can seem distant at times? Is it because the Lord pulls away from His Children? Maybe. The Father's discipline of His adopted children, the price for which God the Father paid the ultimate price--His Son, Jesus Christ--can, at times, include a legitimate sense of the Father's displeasure and distance.

More often than not, however, sensing the Lord is far away comes from a sinful preference to be close to someone or something other than God. Even the Christian can worship with their lips while allowing their heart to be far from God.

Yes, the Lord is near to all who call on Him. But the psalmist adds a crucial caveat. The Lord is near to those who call on Him in truth. What a clear warning against false worship! To call on Him in truth is to call on Him, through the only Mediator between God and Man--the Lord Jesus Christ. God is not near; God does not hear the petitioner who calls on God, through any other means than through Christ. To call on Him in truth is to call on Him with words consistent with the promises of His Word. To call on Him in truth is to call on Him by faith, believing God hears and answers according to His will. To call on Him in truth is to call on Him with humility and love, not with demands or accusations.

For those who call on God in truth, He fulfills their desire. And what must their desire be? If one is praying in truth, then his or her desire is the fulfillment of the will of God in their life. Oh, certainly God answers prayers for temporal things. He delights to give good things to His children. He is the Great Physician. He is the Owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. He is the Creator who provides for the birds, the lilies, and the grass of the field. But God is also merciful, gracious, loving, and kind when He does not give us everything we ask for; just as a loving earthly Father withholds that from his children he knows may be pleasurable, but not profitable for his kids.

Those who call on God in truth are those who fear Him--those who, with love and sincerity of heart, do not want to do anything to disappoint their Abba. God is holy. He is awesome. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is to be feared. For the lost, He is to be feared as a wrathful Judge. For the saved, He is to be feared as a loving Father who will not hesitate to discipline His children. Christian, do you hate your sin with a passion? If so (and every Christian must), why do you hate it? Do you hate it because of what it does to you? That is reasonable. Or do you hate it even more because of the offense it brings to your Father in Heaven?

And God hears! Yes, He hears. Christian, your prayers do not fall on deaf ears. He hears your cries for help. He hears your cries for peace. He hears your cries for comfort. And even if the temporal trials, tribulations, and heartaches of life remain; the Father hears the believer's cries and He saves them. Yes, He is mighty to save! He is mighty to save and He is mighty to keep those whom He saves! He saves and He continues to save. With what great love does the Father love His children!

Seed sower: your Lord and Savior is near! He hears your truthful, God-glorifying prayers. He fulfills your desire to worship and serve Him in spirit and in truth--the desire born out of reverential, rational fear of your Holy Father. He hears your cries for the lost. He hears your cries for the Church. He hears your cries because He has saved you and He continues to save you.

So, go! Take to the streets and proclaim the gospel! The Lord is near! Of this you can be sure.