Finding Forgiveness (Isaiah 55:6-9)
If you ask God for forgiveness, can you be sure that He grants it? What are the qualities to which God responds? With what urgency should you seek Him? This passage presents one of the great assurances in the Bible that God does hear and respond to sincere request for forgiveness.
Seek the Lord with an Intense Priority
Seek the Lord actively. Isaiah 55:6 speaks of the pursuit of God as primary, not secondary. It is a pursuit actively, not passively. To pursue God is to allow nothing to stand in the way of that pursuit. It is literally not a trivial pursuit. The word "seek" originally pointed to a deliberate treading or stepping toward God in prayer and sacrifice. Another prophet of repentance spoke, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
Seek the Lord urgently. Our seeking must be "while he may be found . . . while He is near." God is not always equally accessible. God would not be God if He were no more than a cosmic houseboy to be summoned at our whim. There are moments of time and windows of opportunity when we must seek God. Second Corinthians 6:2 insists, "now is the time of God's favor." Jesus warned His disciples of the urgency for decision now: "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you" (John 12:35). There is a critical, spiritual moment when the wind blows and the tide comes in. That moment must be grasped.
Seek the Lord with a Positive Expectancy
We may believe with security that God will have mercy, that He will pardon. What are the conditions of that pardon?
Pardon relates to the sincerity of the seeker. Outwardly, the seeker must lay aside an habitual course of sinful living. Repentance is the missing note in much modern, Christian proclamation. Inwardly, there must be a radical change in disposition. External reformation without internal purification is not enough. When we come to God, or come back to God, there must be a radical sincerity that embraces both the outwardness of visible life and the inwardness of the unseen disposition.
Pardon relates to the certainty of salvation. The very act of turning to God is an expression of His mercy. His grace met us more than halfway, or we would never have returned. But God's pardon is not scant, stingy, or begrudging. "He will freely pardon." God delights to multiply and make great His pardon when we come with radical repentance: "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20, KJV).
Seek the Lord with an Assured Certainty
God's forgiveness is better than mere man can imagine. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord" (v. 8). To guilty humanity, the reality of absolute forgiveness appears impossible. The narrow confines of guilt-ridden minds cannot imagine the goodness of God. The Lord assures us that He is indeed better than we can imagine, as the heaven is high above the earth.
God's forgiveness is more certain than man can imagine. Isaiah 55:8-9 provides us an assurance that God's purposes and promises are irrevocable. It is a universal and timeless principle that He will forgive. "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind for he is not a man, that he should change His mind. (1 Sam. 15:29). The assurance of your forgiveness rests in the character of God Himself. To be God, He must stand true to His promise. You can be sure of seeking and finding forgiveness.