When God Cannot Be Found

Isaiah 55:6 "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:"

This verse in Isaiah suggests a time when men cannot find God. I don't know about you, but to me, that is a frightening prospect. I never want to see the time that I cannot find the Lord, because the fact is, I need Him ALL of the time!

Sadly, however, there are times when people simply cannot find God and the Bible mentions at least six of these times:

1. When they turn their hearts away from Him and will not hear. Check out Deut. 30:17-18 "But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; [18] I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it."

It is an extremely dangerous thing to turn our hearts away from God and not hear Him. Most of the time, we think of those who are lost who keep turning their hearts away, however, a very sad fact is that many of God's own people sometimes fall into this same trap. Sometimes it may be professing, but not possessing, Christians or people who have "religion", but not a real relationship with Jesus, who get ensnared into this hard-heartedness. Whatever the category, it is a dangerous thing to turn our hearts from Him instead of toward Him; to not hear Him instead of listen to Him. Over and over before, I have stated that it was "religion" that crucified Christ. His bitterest enemies during His earthly ministry were religious leaders and religious-minded people. You know what? They STILL are!

Take a look at His soul-piercing words in Matthew 13:13-15: "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

Jesus was telling this crowd of religious people, as well as people today, that they can see, but they refuse to see; they can hear, but they refuse to hear; they are capable of understanding, but they refuse to accept the truth, desiring to hold on to their old religious traditions and professions in preference to walking in the light of newly revealed truth.  In a condition or attitude like that, God cannot be found!

2. When they mock God and scorn at His dealings until calamity comes. Proverbs 1:23-31 - "Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."

Wisdom is personified here indicating that every man is endowed with natural faculties to know right from wrong and to make godly decisions.

God says in verse 28 when this condition prevails that He will not answer. Yes, God is a gracious, loving, kind, compassionate and patient God, but there can be a point where even His patience wears thin and He says, "I have had enough". He will not be found!

3. When they become too proud and stubborn to humble themselves before Him. Just read the entire account of Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Numbers 16. Korah the Levite, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath (Exodus 6:18,21,24), began a rebellion against Moses, with Dathan and Abiram cooperating, because they wanted more authority in the congregation and contended that Moses and Aaron had too much. They caused 250 of Israel's chief princes to rebel (Numbers 16:1-3). Ultimately, 14,700 died (Numbers 16:49) besides the original rebels and their families (Numbers 16:29-34), and the 250 princes (Numbers 16:35). Korah's object was not to abolish the distinction between the Levites and the people, but to win the priesthood for himself and his kinsmen (Numbers 16:10). This design was hidden under the pretext that all the people were holy and should be equal.

Today, the Church in America is plagued by this same spirit. People who refuse to submit to authority as outlined by the Word of God! We live in a society that for several generations has tried to run God's house like the U.S. Government, however, the Church that Jesus is building, the Church in the Old and New Testaments was NEVER, I repeat, NEVER a democracy. It was and is to be a THEOCRACY, meaning that God is its government and His program is to be what dictates it's actions and policies.

There is never anywhere in scripture where God's leader was ever put up to a vote by a"the people". Jesus appointed the 12 apostles, no one voted on their apostleship. This is another reason that in many churches across this country and around the world, God cannot be found!

4. When they neglect to settle all matters with Him until judgment falls. Study the account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. The names, "Ananias" and "Sapphira" mean "grace" and "beauty" respectively, but their names do not fit their conduct. They were disciples of Christ and members of the apostolic church of which no man would belong unless he had a real experience of salvation. This we have to conclude because the church was hated and persecuted (Acts 4:1-4,17; Acts 5:13,17-18,27-42; Acts 8:1; etc.). It was also repeatedly stated that all were of "one accord" and one mind who did belong to the church (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1,46; Acts 24:32-37).

Acts 5:3 says, "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land" Satan filled their hearts with greed! This was what caused them to hold back part of the price of the land and so lie to the Holy Ghost! Instead of repenting of this grievous sin, they followed through with it and died in it! They had struck such a bargain with the devil that God could not be found in their hearts. You see, verse 4 tells us that Peter asked them "why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." This implies careful and planned deception, not a sudden act and James 1:13-15 tells us, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Oh, dear friend, if there is anything in your heart that needs to be "made right with the Master", as some of the older folks used to say, then do it now! Repent, lest you die in your sin, which brings us to our next point concerning when God cannot be found.

5. When they die in sin. Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Man has an inescapable appointment! The Greek word for appointment, "apokeimai", means to be laid up in store; be in reserve. It is appointed or laid up by divine decree: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19). This law of death will hold firm for all men until the time when death will be destroyed and all things will be restored as they were before Adam sinned (Rev. 20:7-10; Rev. 21:1-22; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

Death, however, as it stands now, ends probation. After death the judgment, not a second chance to live on earth and be saved. Death ends all probation for the one who dies. If he is righteous at death, his soul and spirit go to heaven awaiting the resurrection of the body (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21-24; Hebrews 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11). If he is wicked at death his soul and spirit go to hell to await the resurrection of his body (Luke 16:19-31; Isaiah 14:9; Rev. 20:11-15). There is no such thing as purgatory or a second chance to be on probation in the Millennium or any other time. Neither is there a reincarnation or a transmigration from body to body.

My friend, when that last breath is taken on this earth, whatever decision you have made concerning Christ will be what determines where and how you spend eternity. The Bible teaches us in Eccles. 11:3b, "...in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." At that point, if the proper preparation has not been made, God cannot be found!

6. When they blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:31-32 - "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

Blasphemy is any insulting remark or curse, even attributing to Satan the works of the Holy Spirit. It is unforgivable if it is done maliciously and knowingly, as here and in Hebrews 6:4-9; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 Tim. 1:13. This is a topic in which we will deal with a little deeper in detail at a later time, because there is so much to cover concerning it.

In this passage in Matthew, however, we get some tremendous insight. Jesus had just finished performing a healing miracle and is met with opposition from, who else, but the Pharisees, the religious mind-set. To make a long story short, they accused Him of healing, casting out devils and other miracles by the power of the devil. Jesus goes into a discourse on a kingdom being divided against itself, and makes a very emphatic point. The miracles that He performed were done in the power of the Holy Spirit operative in His life. He was letting these religious idiots know that it is a dangerous thing to attribute something that God the Holy Ghost does to being a work of the devil.

How many times in this day and age have I heard others doing the same? I believe that many times these people are in such ignorance, that they are spared the wrath of God. I have heard non-Pentecostals and others make fun of Pentecostals, healings, speaking in tongues and other miracles in general. My mom always said "a word to the wise should be sufficient." Be careful that you do not wrongfully credit satan with something that God has done or is doing! If you don't know or aren't sure, the best policy is to just keep your mouth shut, for your own sake. You do not want to find yourself in a place where God cannot be found!

So, there are times and circumstances when God cannot be found, but I am glad that God is the loving, gracious, merciful, kind Heavenly Father that He is. He has made provision such that He CAN be found. If we will seek, repent, call upon Him, confess, pray, humble ourself, hear and obey, according to the many passages of scriptures that refer to all of these, God can and will be found!

Pastor Mike

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