If God seems far away, guess who moved?

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Knowing God”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Armies.” Malachi 3:7 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “If God seems far away, guess who moved?”
 
Malachi was the last of the Biblical writers we know as “The Minor Prophets”. With this short book, God closed the Old Testament. That then ushered the people of God into what is called the “intertestamental period”, also known as “The four hundred years of silence”. It’s the four hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. During those four hundred years there were no prophets of God working among His people and there were no new messages from God. For all intents and purposes, God had gone silent.
 
The book of Malachi was intended to be one final prophetic warning to the people as God tried to call their attention to how far they had drifted from Him. However, in Malachi 3:7 God made it clear that despite their long history of disobeying Him, He was still ready to reestablish a close relationship with them if they would just repent and return to Him. Jesus would paint this same word picture in His parable of the Prodigal Son.
 
The phrase “return to me and I will return to you” was actually a metaphor describing the broken relationship between God and His people. It wasn’t that God was no longer present. As we learned yesterday in our discussion about the Omnipresence of God, He is everywhere all the time. There is no place that God is not. Likewise, when we read in the Bible of God threatening to withdraw His presence from disobedient people, it means that the relationship will be broken and they will no longer sense His presence or experience His blessings.
 
So, because the people in Malachi’s day had moved away from God in their hearts, they were no longer in a close relationship with Him. They couldn’t sense His presence and they weren’t experiencing His blessings. But that could change. God was ready and willing. If they would return their hearts to Him, the relationship would be reestablished. “Return to me and I will return to you.”
 
The same is true for us. God wants to be in a close relationship with each of us. He wants us to be vitally aware of His presence and He wants us to be living a life that He can bless. He is right here, He is willing, and He is waiting.
 
If you’re not experiencing that close relationship, if it seems as if God is not close and not blessing, guess whose fault it is? It’s yours. The good news is that God’s invitation is also a promise: return to Him and He will return to you. The relationship can be reestablished and renewed. You moved, He didn’t. Now it’s time to move back to Him.
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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