Build Your Life on the Promises of God
2 Chronicles 6:1-21
September 17-18, 2022
We have reached what I believe is the high point of the history of Israel. Here's why I mean that. David, when he was king, he conquered the nations all around them, east, west, north, and south. All of these nations giving homage, paying tribute to Israel. From the River Euphrates, all the way up in the northeast, down to the Mediterranean, down to the border of Egypt, all the way out to the desert on the east, really a tremendous amount of accomplishment to bring such peace all around. Then before David died, he anointed his son, Solomon, to be king in his place.
One of the first things that Solomon wanted to do was to build this house of God, the temple that David had envisioned. Oh, David wanted to do something absolutely glorious, magnanimous beyond words. This temple that Solomon built for the God of Israel was super glorious and magnificent. It became one of the wonders of the world. Words cannot describe this temple. The building itself was made with stone and the main room of the temple would be approximately-- If we went from the back wall of the sanctuary to the next wall behind the lobby, it'd be about that long. It would be just a little less than from this middle point to that wall in width.
The height would be about 45 feet. This ceiling right here is not quite 30, imagine 15 feet more in height. The sides were paneled with cedar overlaid with gold. Then the floor was overlaid with cypress, also overlaid with gold. Then when you came in the room, which was lit up, of course by the gold lampstands, when you came in the room, it was pure gold. It was just magnanimous in the pillars, the capital and the engravings, and on and on. It was just amazing. Of course, the reason David wanted to build such a glorious temple was to recognize the greatness of our God, that there is no God like you in all the earth.
He wanted to do something glorious. Then when the house was finished, the priests carried in the Ark of the Covenant and set it in the Holy of Holies. Oh, the description of what was there was amazing. Then that is the Holy of Holy, the inner chamber separated by a curtain as thick as a man's hand with chains of gold representing the very presence of God, the very throne of God there amongst them. Then once the Ark of the Covenant was set in its place, a cloud filled the temple, so thick was this cloud that the priest could barely stand and barely could see. This was the glory of God. This was the Shekinah glory of the Lord filling the house.
This is amazing. Truly the high point of history of Israel, peace all around, promises of God fulfilled, glorious temple built in Jerusalem, cloud of God's presence so thick, the priest could barely stand in his presence. Then Solomon assembles all of the elders, the heads of tribes, the leaders of the father's households, all the men of Israel there to Jerusalem. Solomon had built a stand of bronze in which he then stood and blessed the people. Then he knelt on his knees, lifted his hands to heaven, and gave one of the greatest prayers in the Bible. It is so filled with insight and spiritual application to take hold of.
He's calling them to look and see how God has fulfilled every one of the promises that he has given to Israel. Look and see, God has done such wonderous things for us. It's amazing to consider what he’s done. Then he calls the people to respond to that with their heart, be wholly devoted to the Lord for God has done great things for us. He has fulfilled every promise that he has made. How right is that? It reminds me of a song we used to sing many, many years ago. It was one of the real simple worship songs that just filled the house with joy and the heart with the light. It captured the very same thing. It went something like this, "The Lord has done great things for us. The Lord has done great things for us."
He's filled our mouths with laughter, he's filled our tongues with singing, the Lord has done great things for us. Then it goes, "And we are glad," and then women would repeat, "So very glad." Oh, it was just joyful, how right it is to recognize what God has done. Then to take hold of that to build your life upon, that's the prayer, that's the call. Let's read it. We're not going to read the whole thing because it's quite long. We'll read more of this at the Wednesday verse by verse, chapter by chapter service, but let's just read starting in 2 Chronicles 6:1. "Solomon said, “The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.”
I. All God’s Promises Will Stand
See, this is just after the priest said, "There is the cloud of the Lord so thick you could barely see." "Solomon says, “The Lord said He would do this. I have built you a lofty house, and a place for your dwelling forever.” Then the king faced about and he blessed the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to my father David, and he has fulfilled it with his hands. He promised it and he has done it. “Since the day that I brought my people from the land of Egypt,” God said, “I did not choose a city of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that my name might be there. Nor did I choose any man for a leader over my people of Israel, but now I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there.”
By the way, I submit that that is still true, Jerusalem is still the city of God. His name is still there and you will see at the end of the age that he will make his name glorious there. Then he says, "And I have chosen David to be over my people Israel. There will be a son of David who will be the one who will sit on the throne. The Messiah is the king, the son of David, and we know who he is, we know his name. His name is Yeshua Hamashiach. Jesus is that Messiah who will come at the end of the age." Amen.
Then he goes on, he says, "Now, he was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father, David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart, that you wanted to do it. Nevertheless, you shall not build that house.'" David was a man of war. He had shed blood. “No, your son who shall be born to you, he shall build the house for my name. Now the Lord has fulfilled his word which He spoke for I have risen in the place of my father, David and I sit on the throne of Israel as the Lord promised, and I’ve built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. There I have set the ark in which is the covenant of the Lord, which He made with the sons of Israel.”
Then he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the assembly of Israel and He spread out his hands. Now, Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide, three cubits high, and he set it in the midst of the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the assembly of Israel and he spread out his hands toward heaven and he said this." Now, it's a very long prayer, we're only getting to get part of it, but he said, "Oh Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant, showing love and kindness to your servants who art before you with all their heart, who has kept with your servant, David, my father, that which you have promised. You have promised and you have done it.”
Over and over, he says it, "You have promised and you have done it. You have fulfilled with your hand as it is this day. Now, therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep with your servant, David, my father, that which you promised saying, 'You will not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons would take heed to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before Me. Now, therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed which You have spoken to your servant David. Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house which I built. Yet, have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication.
O Lord, my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer, which your servant prays before you. That your eyes may be open toward this house day and night, toward this place of which you have said that you would put your name there, to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place and listen to this supplication of your servant and of your people, Israel. When they pray towards this place, hear thou from your dwelling place, hear thou from heaven, hear now and forgive.’” Oh, there's much more. We’ll look at it Wednesday, but I want us to take hold of these verses to see and to apply to our lives.
Starting with this, to great understanding, he repeats it over and over, and over. All God's promises will stand. He wants them to look and see. He reminds them, look back, all of the promises, everything that God has said, and his point is it's a foundation in which you can build your life. In other words, when it comes to the promises of God, there is a looking back aspect and there's a looking forward aspect. Solomon is telling them to look back and see every word. Not one word has failed. In fact, he says this in 1 Kings 8:56, “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all of his good promises, which he promised through his servant Israel.”
There's a great looking back to see it and how right it is to do the same thing. Look back on your life. I look back on mine and I can tell you that God has been so, so good to me. I am so, so blessed. I've had troubles, I've had great tragedies, but God has walked with me through every one of them. He has fulfilled every word. He has been so, so good to me and I am blessed. Anybody want to agree with that? Is that same for you? Let's give the Lord praise. Absolutely. See, that's what He wants to do. You look back and you see what God has done so then you can look forward and stand on the promises.
See, in other words, the more you've been through with God, the more you know that you can trust him. You can say, "I know my God, I've seen his hand. I know what God does. I've seen it. I've walked with God a long time now, and I know my God and I know he'll do it again." You can stand on the promises of God. See, when you look back and you see it, then you can look forward. See, revival is the beginning of that faithful walking, that standing on the promises of God. One of those promises that we can see in it here is that God promises peace. Not just any peace, it's shalom peace.
That's a Hebrew word which means peace, but it means much more than peace. It's much deeper than that. It means a whole encompassing peace of the soul. It's really a word that should be about our relationship with the Lord. It's about peace in the soul because the soul is made right with God. Oh, that's a whole different kind of peace. David was not allowed to build the temple because he was a man of war. It was to be built by a man of peace, the Scripture says. In fact, the name Solomon comes. The name literally comes from that word shalom, peace. In Israel today, it's a very common greeting.
Hebrew speakers commonly use shalom as a greeting. You can use it when you greet someone and you can use it when you're leaving that person, and on the Sabbath, you say Shabbat Shalom. Oh, I think that's so beautiful. Every week on the Sabbath, Shabbat, that's the greeting, Shabbat Shalom. When you're in Israel, you'll hear it many times on the day of the Sabbath, Shabbat Shalom. How beautiful is that? Sabbath, peace. Sabbath is rest and peace is that word Shalom. That of the soul that's made right with God. See, it's not just peace from conflict. Back in the '60s, during the hippie generation, the hippie time, they made peace even a gesture of-- they have peace symbol and it was a mantra of the day because the world was in conflict.
There was the Vietnam war. The world was upside down with all kinds of cultural revolution. It was kind of like the thing, peace man, peace bro. See, that's fine. That's peace, but it's not Shalom peace. That's a whole different kind of peace. See, at this point in history, there's peace from conflict. That's true. There's no wars, but it's much deeper than that. It's resting on the promises. He says God has given rest to His people. It's the same idea. Rest is not resting from work, it's more than that. The Sabbath is much more than just resting. See, Shalom peace and rest are connected together.
God gave the Sabbath to Israel to rest as a mark of his covenant with them. He gave the Sabbath year. Every seventh year was to be a sabbatical year. In fact, the modern phrase, the sabbatical-- In fact, there are modern companies that give sabbaticals and Intel here is one of those. Isn't it every seven years? Very biblical I should say. They get it right out of the Bible but here's the point, it's not just for rest. It's much deeper than that the Sabbath day or the Sabbath year. It's not just for rest, it's much deeper than that. It's for the soul to be refreshed in the Lord. It's to renew the nearness of God. The soul, that's what it's about.
A. God promises shalom - peace
Resting on the promises, not leaning on your own flesh. It's prophetic also. It's a promise to be fulfilled. Promises Shalom rest, Shalom peace. It's a promise to be fulfilled. See, it will be fulfilled in that promise coming Messiah. He will be your peace. He will be your rest. You can rest on what He has done. Then your soul will be made right with God because you can rest on what that Messiah has done for you. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. He said in another place, he is the fulfillment of God's promise of that soul, rest, that peace. That pastor's understanding, Shalom peace.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.” Not like the world do I give you. No, don't let your heart be troubled, don't let it be fearful. When your heart is right with God, when your soul is right with God, when there's a peace in that soul, because of that, you can know that God will be with you through every trouble and trial of the world. Hebrews 4:9-10 is interesting. “There still remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from his.” Resting on that which God did through His Son, Jesus Christ.
See, resting from your own works means that you've given up on self-reliance and self-sufficiency. That's the mantra of the American way, isn't it? Self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-empowerment. That's not faith, however. Faith is trusting in the sufficiency of God through his Son, Jesus Christ. Paul wrote it this way. Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned to be content.” I see he's speaking to the same thing, isn't he? The soul is right with God. I've learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Many refer to this as Paul's spiritual secret. I've learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am.
My soul is not dependent upon the circumstance. See, if you have to wait for the circumstance to be right before you're happy, you're never going to be happy. If you have to wait for the circumstances to be right, if everything's got to be right, everything's got to be just so. No, he's talking about a soul that's made right regardless of the circumstance. I've learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along on humble means, I know how to live in prosperity. Many frankly, do not. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of being filled or going hungry, of having abundance or suffering need.
I do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That's the soul that's made right with God. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. This is Paul's spiritual secret. Few, if any, have been as spiritually effective as Paul. I submit that is a great life lesson. Hudson Taylor is a very famous missionary to China who became powerfully effective in his life and ministry. He had what many called Hudson Taylor's spiritual secret. In fact, there's a book out there called Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret. You know what Hudson Taylor's spiritual secret is? The same one that Paul had.
He wrote it this way, "We are made powerful and effective, not by our striving, we are made powerful and effective by our resting." Not resting on self-sufficiency, resting on Him, relying on Him, relying on His promises, and His promise is to abide with you. He will be with you every step along the way. That is a promise. What is Solomon saying? Solomon is saying this, "God's Word does not fail. Look and see, every promise, every word has been fulfilled, that God has promised." Reminds me a lot of what Joshua said, after Moses, it was Joshua who led the people, across the Jordan, into that land that He had promised.
B. God’s Word does not fail
When he had come to the end of his life, Joshua gathered all the people together, and he said this to them, Joshua 23:14, "Behold, you know, in all of your heart, and all your souls that not one word, of all the good words, which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed. All has been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed." Then he continued in that speech, and he said, "Therefore, choose you this day who you will serve." If you look and see, not one word of all the good words that God has said has failed, "Therefore, choose you this day who you will serve. As for me and my house," this thing is settled with me. "As for me in my house, we will serve the Lord."
The promises of God don't fail because the word of God doesn't fail. Now, it's also true, that calamity and trouble come upon the one who are not under God in their lives, because that's also God's word, and God's Word does not fail. See, why is this the one who knows this when he is young? It's about the course of your life. I've been in ministry a long time now, and I've met people along the way who had this very interesting perspective. Their perspective is like this, "Look, I'm going to do the world thing, and I'm going to do the world thing until the end, and then right before I die, then I'm going get right with God."
Let me just say what's wrong with that. First of all, you don't know when you're going to meet God. You don't know. I submit that it's right, you need to get right with God and be ready every day, but secondly, such a thought like that misses the point of life entirely. It misses the point of life entirely. What is the point of that thought? "I'm going to do the world. I'll do the world thing until the very end, and then I'll get right with God." What is the thought behind that? I want to do the world because the world it's where I get some kind of fun. That's where it is. That's where it's happening. Then, of course, I do want my eternal soul to be, I would like to have some kind of eternity to my soul, so, then I'll get right with God at the end.
What are they saying? They're saying, I'd rather have the world. They're missing the point of it, because here's the thing. The ways of the world do not bring peace to the soul. They don't bring Shalom peace. You're not right with God. In fact, what it brings is a conflicted and troubled soul. That's what that will bring. Anybody who's been in the world long enough, who's done the world thing has their own testimony to add to what I just said right there. There's a lot of people in this room who've done the world thing enough to know that you do that world thing, and you're going to end up with a conflicted and troubled soul. That's what you're going to end up with.
Anybody want to add their testimony, I'll just add mine for you. This is what Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:1, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth." Determine this course while you're a young. "Before the evil days come, and the years draw near, when you will say, I have no delight in them." Young people have a hard time understanding this point, because they have a hard time thinking about the distant future. How is this going to end? Well, what is this going to bring about? They have a hard time thinking about the distant future, but I'll tell you, I've mentioned it before, I wish I knew at 20 what I know now about the condition of the soul.
Oh, I tell you, I've come to understand the value of the soul. It's the most important aspect of who you are, far more important than even the physical body. This body of ours will pass, but the soul, the most important aspect of who you are. Oh, how I wish I knew that when I was young, it would have saved me from so much trouble. It would have saved me from so much conflict. Not only that, not only would it have saved me from a lot of trouble, it would have given me a lot of joy. All the joy I missed out on, because I didn't understand the value of the soul and being right with God.
That's why that word from Ecclesiastes is the right word, "Remember, in the days of your youth, the Lord God of heaven before the evil days come, and the years draw near, when you say, I have no delight in them now." Know in your heart and soul, that not one word, of all the good words will fail. Why is it the one who knows it when he is young? When I come to the end of my life, I'm sure there will be things that I regret, like the things I did when I was 20, but I know one thing for sure, I will never regret trusting Christ with my life. Anybody agree with me? Absolutely. He is saying, choose.
Joshua is saying, "Choose you this day, the life of blessing, stay in the course, finish the fight, run the race." There are promises that God wants you to have right now. Take hold, stand there, promises to stand on. There are promises of God that you can have right now, promises that you can obtain by trusting him in faith, by standing on the rock, by believing with all of your heart that God's word does not fail. You can have these promises right now. I'm going to read them to you, some of the promises, and this is just a short list. You can have life to the full right now. Jesus says, "I have come that you have life, and life to the full." He's talking about right now.
Not only for eternity, he's talking about right now. You can have this right now. You can have the peace that passes understanding right now. Your soul can be made right with God, and you can have a peace right now. That he would give you the desires of your heart, that you would gain new strength, that you would rise up on wings like eagles. That you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, that he would surround you with songs of deliverance in times of trouble. That he would make your feet like hind’s feet, and set you in high places. That you can be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.
II. May God Incline Your Heart to Himself
That you can ask and you will receive, that you can seek and you will find, that you can knock and the door will be opened unto you. That you can seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you. That the prayers of the righteous man will be very effective. You can be spiritually effective and powerful right now because the prayers of the saints are effective. Take hold on the promises of God. Then in his prayer, he says this, "May God incline your heart to Himself." That's part of this great call. This is the high point.
Notice verse 14, "Oh Lord God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on Earth, keeping covenant, showing love and kindness to your servants, who walk before you with all of their heart." That's what he's telling the people, "See what God has done? Now, walk before him with all of your heart." God wants you to walk before him with all of your heart, and he himself will incline your heart to him. He will incline your heart to him. The Holy Spirit is moving upon your spirit to draw your heart to him. He's doing this even now. He's by his Spirit, drawing you to himself. His spirit is moving upon your spirit to draw your heart towards him.
That glory of God, I submit that Shekinah glory of God was his presence in that cloud that day, so thick, the priest could not see. When Moses was on Mount Sinai he dwelt with God in the thick cloud. When God led Israel in the desert, he led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. I submit that that same glory is now within you, same glory now within you, because you are the temple of the living God now. Is there a temple in Jerusalem today? No. Is there a temple anywhere in the world today? Yes. Where? Right here, right in this very room, not because of the building because you are here, because the temple is the heart and soul of those who've opened their heart to receive.
Notice this 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul writes, “Do you not know?” I love when Paul says that. In other words, this you ought to know, you must know this. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? Do you not know this?” Then he adds “The temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” This is to be pondered deeply. This must be pondered deeply. Do you not know you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you, and the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are? To live by that great truth if I submit is a tremendous deep insight that will transform your life.
The Spirit of God is dwelling in you. Inclining your heart. Moving upon your spirit, drawing you closer to himself. He wants you to come nearer. John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in all the truth. He will draw you and guide you and lead you to the truth.” Isaiah 30:21-22. Here's another aspect of that. “Your ears will hear a word behind you.” This is the way, walk in it. This is the spirit nudging, drawing, speaking, calling, moving. This is the way, walk in this. Whenever you turn to the writer to the left and notice, and then you will say to that impure thing, you will say to them, "Be gone."
Oh, this is a great truth right here. This is a wonderful truth. When the soul is right with God, there's something beautiful and glorious so much so that you don't want any impure thing to hinder that which God is doing. When you see it, when you see how glorious, how beautiful is the soul, when your eyes are open to it, then you'll see that impure thing for what that impure thing is. You'll say, "I don't want this thing in my life anymore." This thing is in the way of that which God is doing that which is beautiful and glorious, and you'll say to that impure thing, "Be gone."
Notice the command aspect of that. "Be gone, I do not want you in my life anymore. Be gone, get out." You're going to say it like that in a bossy way. "Get out." To that pure thing. I'll tell you that's part of revival right there. That's part of revival. When that soul is made so beautiful, so glorious that you see that impure thing for what it is. You say, "I don't want it, get out of my life. I want God and the glory to move in power." Then there's this with all of your heart walk in his ways. Notice verse 14, “Oh, Lord God of Israel. There is no God like you, showing loving kindness to your servants, who walk before you with all their heart.”
A. With all your heart - walk in His ways
In other words, it's not just the heart, it's the walking. I was speaking earlier about the heart, but notice how he brings it out. It's the walking. In other words, it's how you live. It's about what you do as well as what's in your heart. Some people they try to separate those two things. Oh, it doesn't really matter what you do as long as your heart is right. Jesus has got something to say about that. I love quoting Luke 6:45 because it's just one of the great verses that speaks to this so powerfully. Jesus said this, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart will bring forth what is good. For the mouth speaks, the life is lived from that, which fills the heart.”
Whatever fills the heart from that the life is lived. From that the mouth speaks. If God is doing something beautiful and glorious in the soul, you'll speak from that. Now he did say the opposite is also true. The evil man out of the evil treasures will bring forth what's evil. The angry man from the angry heart must bring anger. The bitter person from the bitter heart will speak things that are bitter. The hurt person with the hurt heart will speak things that are hurt. When the soul is filled with the beauty and glory of what God is doing, you'll speak from that. The good man and the good treasures of his heart will bring forth what's good. It's the way of greatest blessing.
See, that's what God wants. He wants to keep you from all those distresses and conflicts and troubles. He loves you, but if you get to a place where you've wandered from God and you find those distresses and conflicts, that Holy Spirit is still going to draw you home. Later in this famous prayer of Solomon there on his knees, lifting his hands to God, he spoke of those troubles, defeats distresses. He said this “When your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they've sinned against you. When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you.
If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there's blight or mildew or locust or grasshopper. If their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is. If they turn to you again, and they confess your name, and they pray to you in this house, hear that from heaven and forgive them and bring them back.” God will always bring you back. God will always bring you back because he loves you like a good, good father. One of the greatest stories of that has to be Luke 15 and the story the prodigal son. This young man wanted his inheritance early. He received a vast sum of money, went into the city and spent it all on the world, and living the worldly life, parties, women, all of it.
He spent it all because a fool and his money are soon parted. He spent it all, then when he had come to the end of his money, a famine hit the land, and he couldn't even find a job. Finally, he found the worst possible job for a Jew, feeding swine. Now you might think, "Oh, this is the worst. You can't get any worse than this.” Oh, no, it does because he soon becomes envious because the pigs have food, and he does not. Then it says he came to his senses. Oh, that is a glorious point in a person's life. The Holy Spirit drawing.
He came to his senses and he said to himself, "My father's servants are treated better than this. I will go to my father and I will say, ‘Father, I've sinned against heaven and in your sight. I'm no longer worthy to be a son. I'm not coming home to be a son. I'm just asking for a job.’" That's his speech. We picked the story up and Luke 15:2-24. He got up, he came to his father, but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and the father ran down the road, embraced him, kissed him and the son had his speech already.
B. Return to the Lord with all your heart
“Father, I've sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be a son,” but the father interrupts him. The father said to his servants quickly, “Bring out the best robe and put it on my son. Put a ring on his hand, sandals on his feet for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again. This son of mine was lost and has been found.” God will always bring you home. He will not quit. He'll never relent. He will pursue you and he'll keep drawing you home but here's the thing. We see this in that prayer as well. When you return, you return to the Lord with all your heart.
Solomon prayed this. “When your people sin against you for there is no man who does not sin and you deliver them to their enemies and they're taken captive to a land far off. If they take thought in that land where they are taken and repent, and make supplication to you in the land of their captivity saying, ‘We have sinned. We committed to iniquity.’ If they return with all their heart, with all their soul and they pray, then hear thou from heaven and forgive your people who have sinned against you.” In other words, God wants sinners to come. God wants sinners to seek him.
God wants sinners to seek him with all their hearts. Why? Because they've been searching for all the wrong things. Oh, they've been searching, but they've been searching for all the wrong things. There is an aspect of the human soul that's always searching because for so, so many people, there's something missing and they don't know what it is. They're just looking and searching. They want something to fill that empty thing. They don't know what it is. God put that there. I submit God put that there so that you would search for him, for only when the soul is made right with God is the soul satisfied.
He put that there so that you would search for him. When you search for him, search for him with all your heart. Then when you find him, you'll find that he was drawing you, that he was pursuing you. He was drawing you every time. 1st Chronicles 28: 9 David said at the great speech before he passed the baton to Solomon, “As for you, my son Solomon know that God of your father, serve him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord, searches all hearts, understands every thought, intent of the thought and if you seek him, he will let you find him. You search for him and you will find that he was drawing you.”
John 4 there is this story of this woman from Sychar. This story so powerfully illustrates this. This woman was a Samaritan and the Jews looked down on Samaritans because they had intermarried with the Gentiles. They thought of them as half breeds and the Jews rejected them, would have nothing to do with them. The chapter begins by saying that Jesus had to go through Samaria. He needed to go. Not just because it was the shortest route. Most Jews would go around Samaria. No, it says he needed to go because he was seeking a lost sheep. This woman from Sychar came to the well where Jesus was resting.
Jesus said to the woman, "Woman give me a drink." She said, "How is it that you being a Jew ask me for a drink since I'm a Samaritan, how is that?” Jesus responded. "If you knew who was speaking to you, you would ask him for a drink and he would give you living water." She said, "Sir, give me this living water." He said to her, “Go call your husband.” He's going to give her living water but first he says, "Go call your husband." She says, "I have no husband." He responds “You have well said that you have no husband for, in fact, you've had five husbands. The man you are now with is not your husband.”
She says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet” and she turns it to spiritual things. She says, “I know when Messiah comes that he will declare all things. It's like, she's pondering. Is this the one? “I know when Messiah comes, he will have the answers.” He will speak off things. Was she searching for God? Was this the day that she would hope that would come? There are many people like this woman. Her life is a mess. She's had five failed marriages. She's even given up trying that anymore. She's not just living with the man.
How many times, how many times had she gone out into the night and looked up to the stars and said, "Oh God, what's wrong with me? I failed at everything. I failed at every relationship. I'm despised. I'm hated by everyone. I'm lonely. I'm lost, everything I touch fails. I know that when Messiah comes, he will have answers. Where is this Messiah?” He says that he had to go through Samaria. Why? Because he was seeking this woman. He so radically changes her life that she goes into the village and she brings back to the whole Village. “You must meet this man who can seek and save that which was lost.”
One of the great songs, worship songs we sing, ‘Oh, come to the Altar.’ I want to just quote some of it because it speaks to it so well. “Are you hurting and broken within? Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling. He is the one who's drawing sinners. Have you come to the end of yourself? Do you thirst for a drink from the well? Jesus is calling. Oh, come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, what a Savior. Isn't He wonderful? Sing hallelujah for Christ is risen.”
Let's pray. Father, thank you so, so much for the great truths that the soul is made right with you. The glory of your presence changes everything. God, we want you. We want a soul like that. God move in power. We want a soul like that.