Saturday, March 12, 2011

God Turned Away

Then they will cry out to the LORD,
   but he will not answer them.
At that time he will hide his face from them
   because of the evil they have done. Micah 3:4`

It`s hard sometimes to hear or read things in the Word of God that challenge the way we think about God. We don`t want to think of God as being angry or that He wouldn`t listen to us. We don`t want to think that God would turn away from us and leave us alone. We don`t like those unpleasant verses so we avoid them. We read everything we can about love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and we only focus on those aspects of God`s character because to look at the other attributes of God makes us uncomfortable and we certainly don`t enjoy being uncomfortable. If we`re uncomfortable we just might have to change us and we don`t like doing that.

I was brought up in the church and in a Christian home but I clearly remember being shocked the first time God revealed these Scriptures to me. When I read that because of my sin, God would not hear my prayer; that He would turn away from me, it shocked me to my very core. I was under the impression that God heard every prayer whether my heart was right with Him or not. But, according to God`s Word, I was wrong.

 If the attitude of our heart isn't right, God will not hear our prayers. And that is the key right there: it is a condition of the heart. If our heart is right towards God, if we have asked Him to forgive our sins and given our life over to Him, He will answer our prayers. But He is not obligated to answer the prayers of a heart full of sin.
Let`s see what the Word of God says:

Psalm 66:18 - If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

Isaiah 59:1, 2 - Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

Jeremiah 7:16 - Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. (Also Jer. 11:11, 14; 14:12)

John 9:31 - Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

Proverbs 1:24-28
But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,  since you disregard all my advice  and do not accept my rebuke,  I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;  I will mock when calamity overtakes you—  when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 
Then they will call to me but I will not answer;  they will look for me but will not find me,

Those are hard Scriptures to read or to hear because they challenge us to examine our hearts and repent of our sin and then our prayers will be answered. He hears the prayers of His children and as a good Father, He delights in blessing His children.

James 5:16 tells us to: Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

So we see the laid out pattern here to have powerful, effective prayers. We need to confess our sin, repent of it and turn away from it and then our prayers will be heard and answered. God will always hear the prayer of repentance. If someone is not serving the Lord but repents of their sin, God will hear that prayer. Sin separates us from God, but repentance reconciles us to Him.

I would like to end this with a portion of King Solomon`s prayer of dedication when the temple of the Lord was completed:

2 Chonicles 6:36-39
“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray... then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.

May God bless you!

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