The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
“Why won’t God answer my prayer?”
“Why won’t God listen to me?”
“Why is God so distant?”
Such questions are usually spoken as accusations against God for being indifferent. God is on trial. They would be wonderful questions if asked as a matter of personal examination. “If God is good and powerful, should I be examining myself for the reason he seems distant?” God will not bless the wicked, but he does desire for the wicked to repent and be blessed. “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?”
And it is not that the wicked must make himself righteous in order to be heard. He does not have to merit God’s hearing; he needs, rather, to turn to God in submission. Yes, it is the righteous whom God hears, but then no one is righteous. Our blessing is to receive the righteousness of God the Son, freely given to any who call on his name.
This is the gospel message for the lost, but also for the saved. For so many times it seems to us that God is distant; he seems distant, not because he is, but because we keep placing between us and him idols and works. We either do not want to be near because of wanting to hold on to sins and idols, or we put in the way obstacles that we somehow believe will aid us in getting God’s attention. Like the believers at Colossae, we make up rules and restrictions that seem to have value, but in truth merely make us trust in man-made rules rather than resting fully in the work of our Lord. Righteousness is not about what rules we make up to appear reverent; it is about resting – resting on and in the Lord of Righteousness.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org