December 9, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7  let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 55:6–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Seek ye Jehovah. After having spoken of the good success of the gospel among the Gentiles, who formerly were strangers to the kingdom of God, he urges the Jews to be ashamed of loitering while others run; for since they were the first who were called, it is shameful that they should be last. This exhortation, therefore, relates strictly to the Jews, to whom the example of the Gentiles is held out in order to excite their jealousy; in the same manner as the Lord hath foretold that “he would provoke the Jews to jealousy by a foolish nation.” (Deut. 32:21.)

While he is found. “The time of finding” is here used not exactly in the same sense as in Psalm 32:6, but as the time when God offers himself to us, as in other passages he has limited a fixed day for his good-pleasure and our salvation. (Is. 49:8.) Yet I readily admit that it likewise denotes the time when necessity prompts us to seek God’s assistance; but we ought chiefly to remember that God is sought at a seasonable time, when of his own accord he advances to meet us; for in vain shall indolent and sluggish persons lament that they had been deprived of that grace which they rejected. The Lord sometimes endures our sluggishness, and bears with us; but if ultimately he do not succeed, he will withdraw, and will bestow his grace on others. For this reason Christ exhorts us to walk while it is day, for the night cometh when the means of pursuing our journey shall be taken from us. (John 12:35.) We ought to draw high consolation from being assured that it is not in vain for us to seek God. “Seek,” says Christ, “and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened; ask, and it shall be given to you.” (Matt. 7:7.)

Call upon him while he is near. The word “call” may here be taken in a general sense; but I think that it denotes one description of “seeking” God, which is of more importance than all the others, as if he commanded us to betake ourselves to him by prayers and supplications. He says that he is “near,” when he opens the door and gently invites us to come to him, or when he comes forth publicly, so that we do not need to seek him through long windings. But we must attend to Paul’s definition, who tells us that it denotes the preaching of the gospel. (Rom. 10:8.) “The Lord is nigh,” (Philip. 4:5,) and exhibits himself to us, when the voice of the gospel cries aloud; and we do not need to seek far, or to make long circuits, as unbelievers do; for he exhibits himself to us in his word, that we, on our part, may draw near to him.[1]

6–7 The call of vv. 1–3 is echoed here, but with a stronger moral emphasis. Earlier the folly of self-willed waywardness was stressed, while here it is its wickedness. Verse 6 implies both a promise and a warning. There is urgency in this call, for the time is not unlimited (cf. 61:2). Both in his lifestyle and the attitudes that lie behind it, the sinner is wrong, so repentance must touch the inner man as well as the outward deeds (cf. Mt 5:21–22, 27–28). The call here is not simply uttered to the people as a group, as in ch. 54, but to the individual (“wicked” and “evil man” are singular). The promise of God’s pardon is assured (cf. 1:16–20; 44:22; et al.).[2]

Seek the Lord——abundantly pardon.—Vers. 6–7. The entire section vers. 6–11 deals with the difficulties that actually, or in human opinion, oppose that “hearing” that the Lord has demanded in vers. 2, 3. The first difficulty is, that so many men are unable to make up their minds to lay hold, i.e., to respond to the Lord’s call, and on their side to desire and seek what offers itself to them. For, of course, the soul must on its part incline to the Lord, who inclines Himself to it. This is the “seeking” and “calling” of which verse 6 speaks. Believing is a hard matter. Hence many hesitate until it is too late. And hence the Prophet’s warning, to turn to the Lord in season, to seek and call on Him. For the Lord is not near and able to be found without limitation. Hast thou suffered thy heart to harden or become callous, or hast thou suffered the time to lapse wherein believing is any way possible, i.e., the period of earthly life, that ends with death and with the world beyond which begins the seeing,—then thou findest the Lord no more, He withdraws. Thou canst then no more believe, even though wishing painfully to do so, as Esau who found no room for repentance though he sought it with tears (Heb. 12:17), or as those who have slipped past the fateful “to-day” (comp. Heb. 3:7 sqq.; 4:7 and the parables of the invited guests Luke 14:17 sqq., and the laborers in the vineyard Matth. 2:1 sqq.). The second and chiefest hinderance to believing is this, that men cleave too much to evil. They love it too much; all their imagining and doing is directed to it. They cannot get rid of sin, they are under the ban and constraint of it. Hence the Prophet warns, that the wicked first of all must forsake his wicked way and the man of iniquity (Prov. 6:12, 18, which likely was in the Prophet’s mind) his thoughts. This is the negative side of the exhortation. With this is joined the positive; the wicked should turn to Jehovah a. to the end that He may have mercy on him, b. for the reason that Jehovah is (not a strange but) Israel’s (“our”) God, and is inclined and accustomed to pardon abundantly.[3]

55:6–7. Having invited Israel to find spiritual nourishment from the Lord (55:1–3) and identifying the Servant-Messiah as the source of that nourishment (55:4–5), God now calls on all to repent and turn to Him. The promise here is plain: if people will seek the Lord in a timely manner, turn from wickedness and return to the Lord, then He will abundantly pardon. These phrases are not calls for works righteousness but are calling for genuine faith leading to divine forgiveness and transformed behavior. This is evident from the opening words of this Song (vv. 1–2), calling Israel to obtain salvation freely (not by works) since it is only available by God’s gracious gift.[4]

55:6–7. The wicked (v. 7) are commanded to seek and call on the Lord (v. 6), and to do so while He may be found, because when His judgment comes it will be too late. Such seeking and calling means that an individual will turn from his former evil way and thoughts. Turning to the Lord one receives mercy and pardon. In every dispensation the Lord has required the same thing for salvation: trust in Him. Israelites, though God’s covenant people, were saved only by believing in the Lord.[5] †

55:6 — Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.

The Lord invites us to come “boldly” into His presence, any time of day or night, to receive His counsel, confess our sins, make requests, and just enjoy His company (Heb. 4:16).[6]

55:6, 7 Here is one of the clearest OT invitations to salvation now and kingdom blessing later. It gives an excellent example of how people were saved during the OT period. Salvation grace and mercy were available to the soul that was willing to 1) seek the Lord (Dt 4:29; 2Ch 15:4) and 2) call on Him while He is still available (65:1; Ps 32:6; Pr 8:17; Mt 25:1–13; Jn 7:34; 8:21; 2Co 6:2; Heb 2:3; 3:13, 15). Such true seeking in faith is accompanied by repentance, which is described as forsaking ways and thoughts and turning from sinful living to the Lord. A sinner must come, believing in God, recognizing his sin and desiring forgiveness and deliverance from that sin. At the same time he must recognize his own inability to be righteous or to satisfy God and cast himself on God’s mercy. It is then that he receives a complete pardon. His sin has been covered by the substitution of the Messiah in his place (chap. 53). This OT pattern of salvation is illustrated in Lk 18:9–14.

55:7 forsake. An integral part of seeking the Lord (v. 6) is a turning from sin (1:16).[7]

[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 165–166). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 813). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Nägelsbach, C. W. E., Lowrie, S. T., & Moore, D. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Isaiah (p. 600). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Rydelnik, M. A., & Spencer, J. (2014). Isaiah. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1093). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 1110–1111). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Is 55:6). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 55:6–7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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