Monday, April 29, 2024

 Draw Near

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8

God’s desire has always been to have a personal relationship with mankind. He walked in the garden with Adam, and that fellowship was broken by Adam’s sin. Ever since then, God has continued to desire that fellowship with man, and to that end He made a way for us to draw near. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-25. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

Throughout man’s history, God has continually called for those that would draw near to Him. Even though Jesus had not yet come, those who would come in faith, God would commune with them. There are many examples in the Old Testament, such as Abraham of whom we read that he was “the friend of God.” God spoke to Abraham as a friend would speak to another. 

We also find Moses, of whom God says: “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” Deuteronomy 34:10. “My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Numbers 12:7-8.

Then, we find Elijah, hiding in a cave and very discouraged about his current situation 1 Kings 19. When God speaks to him, it is in a still, small voice. In order to hear that, Elijah would need to draw near. Sometimes, God wants to talk to us in that still small voice, and He bids us to draw near so that we can hear Him.

What God is not looking for are those that will draw near in word only. It can be easy to say we are drawing near or try to make others think we are drawing near to God, but God knows our heart. He always seeks those that will draw near with a true heart. Jesus quotes the prohet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8: “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” The earlier quote from Hebrews 10 encourages us to draw near with a true heart. 

This is not just some “appeasement” of God, but it is a valuable relationship with the Creator of all things, the One who is above all and by Whom all things consist. This is good for us. I am constantly amazed that God has gone to all of this length to have fellowship with me. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. The Psalmist knew this as well when he says: “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” Psalms 73:28.

So, my encouragement to you is to not hesitate another moment. Take God up on His invitation to draw near. Near Him is the only place we will find true peace and comfort, and He wants to speak to you, specifically you. Don’t let the cares or discouragement of this world or your current circumstances keep you from being near Him where you can hear Him clearly. You will find that you get close to Him when you spend time in His Word, and time in prayer.