Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“You have given me the necks of my enemies that I might destroy them.
They cried, but there was none to save them, even to the Lord,
but He answered them not.”
In spite of what one might have heard to the contrary, God is not always willing to hear people’s cries and to forgive. There are some evils that men and women commit that are so ungodly, that so provoke the wrath of God, He will not forgive.
Of the many biblical examples, the arrogance of the people in Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day provide us with a most fearful example of provoking God too much. When God sent prophets to plead with the people to repent and escape the coming disaster, they mocked those humble servants of God, and, instead of repenting, sent out invitations for an end-of-the-world party. “Let us eat and drink,” they said to each other, “for tomorrow we shall die!” To this, God furiously replied, “Surely, this iniquity shall not be purged from you until you die!” Every one of those witty, unbelieving people are suffering in hell today.
Then there was Esau, who lightly esteemed the holy, singular inheritance from his great-grandfather Abraham and traded it for a bowl of soup one day when he was hungry. We are told that later, when Esau “wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it diligently, with tears.” It was too late to repent, too late to realize the value of the blessing of God that had been freely bestowed on him at birth. God would not forgive and restore to him that eternal “pearl of great price” which he had foolishly traded for a temporary earthly benefit.
God’s wrath may also be provoked by a long-standing refusal to heed His voice and repent. It is unwise to wait too long to obey the voice of God. In Proverbs, Solomon said, “He who, being often reproved, hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that, without remedy.”
This is the truth that serves as the foundation for Isaiah’s earnest cry to Israel: “Seek the Lord while He may be found! Call upon Him while He is near!” This verse is meaningless if God can always be found, or if He is always near. If there will never be a time when God will not respond to man’s cries for help, then what was Isaiah’s point in that verse? Isaiah was telling his fellow Israelites that there was coming a day when God would not be found by them, no matter how much they wept and begged for Him to help them.
There is a time, appointed by the Father, when we are to call on Him, and there is also a time when it is too late to call on Him, when calling on God is useless because He will not hear us. Did you notice that in the verse quoted at the beginning, those who had become enemies of Jesus called on God for help when trouble came, but they received none? “They cried, but there was none to save them, even to the Lord, but He answered them not.”
May God give us wisdom to ask in a time when the answer is being offered, to seek while He may be found, and to knock before the door to God’s mercy is forever closed. If God calls, please do not hesitate to answer. To have Him speak to you is a very great blessing, and a very great opportunity for life and peace which you do not want to miss.