God’s offer to be found by those who seek him stands firm. In fact, when it comes to those who are lost, God is out looking for them even now. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, yet some of God’s children abandon him and walk so far away it’s hard to get back…
4 “Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.
5 Israel’s arrogance testifies against them;
the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;
Judah also stumbles with them.
6 When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the Lord,
they will not find him;
he has withdrawn himself from them.
15 … until they have borne their guilt
and seek my face—
in their misery
they will earnestly seek me.”
Hosea 5:4-6, 15
13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
Sometimes we move so far from following God that our deeds don’t permit us to return to him. Have you ever been that far? Hosea’s prophecy to Israel is that they have a spirit of prostitution in their hearts and have stopped acknowledging the Lord. This is a place of arrogance in which pursuing one’s own way exceeds the value of following God.
In these situations, we see that God will not be found by them. The Lord will withdraw himself so that he is out of reach. The result is that their sin keeps them from seeking God, and God will not be found by arrogant and idolatrous people.
What hope is there, then, for anyone who isn’t a follower of God today? Much hope.
God’s offer to be found by those who seek him is still standing and firm. In fact, when it comes to those who are lost, God is out looking for them. God is seeking you today. That’s why Jesus came – to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
When it comes to seeking him, though, God treats his own children a bit differently than he treats new seekers. When we are his children, and we abandon him for the treasures of the world, God will only be found again by us when we come to him in a spirit of contrition. When we understand and experience the misery of sin and realize that we are offending God, it is out of that humility that we can return to God and he will be found by us. Not until then.
Here’s the point. God will be found when we seek him with all our heart. When we are half-hearted toward God, we cannot expect him to be at the ready to welcome us back into service. The story of the Lost Son teaches us this. The father welcomed the son back when the son realized his shame and error. He came in complete humility and his father celebrated and threw a party.
All our heart. Seek God.