Text: Isaiah 18:1-7, Isaiah 19:1-25, Isaiah 20:1-6, Matthew 10:16-23, Romans 9:14-18
When my kids were younger, they would sometimes hide. I’m not talking about hiding in the peek-a-boo or hide-n-seek sense—though those were games we all loved to play together. No, they hid because they didn’t want to be found. If you’ve been around kids at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Kids often try to hide, however poorly, what they don’t want others to see.
I’ve been tempted to do the same in the face of being found out, when the Lord reveals my sin to me. But as today’s readings remind me, God is a righteous judge who will not be mocked. One day, we will all give account for what we’ve done (Romans 14:12), but it won’t be a time to impart information to the Lord—He already knows all things (Psalm 139). Rather than send us into hiding, these truths should lead us to confession, repentance, and ultimately worship.
The good news for you and me—for all who believe—is that though God is just, He is also merciful. He knows judgment is coming, and so it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). In His extravagant mercy, He seeks us out to make Himself known, even if we refuse to acknowledge Him (Romans 1:20). But when we do turn to Him and pray to receive His mercy, we recognize, as Paul did, that our righteousness is completely in the hands of the Lord:
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
- Romans 9:14-15
Redemption depends not on our human will or exertion, but on our kind and merciful God. In His redeeming us He displays His power in us, so that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth, to those who have yet to turn to Him (Romans 9:17).
The Lord is active and present, working in so many ways and in so many places (John 5:17). But we can easily miss Him. We can drown Him out with distractions and busyness. We can tune Him out like Adam and Eve did, then run and hide from Him in our sin, instead of running into His arms for forgiveness. Even so, He pursues us—working both broadly in the world and intimately in our hearts—to bring us back to where we belong: in His presence. Though we were once far off and lost, the blood of Jesus has brought us close (Ephesians 2:13).
We were made to be found. So look for Him. Listen. Pay attention. Count the ways you see the Lord’s hand at work. Draw near to Him. Seek Him with all your heart, and rest assured, He will be found by you (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
This is the Lord’s mercy to you and me—not by our might, but by His.
Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.