Devotional – Seeking God and Fleeing from God

This past Sunday I preached on Isaiah 30:1-17, in which the prophet denounces the faithlessness of the people of Judah. Rather than entrusting themselves to the Lord in the face of the threat of Assyrian aggression, the people turned to Egypt instead. They looked to the military might of Pharaoh to give them the security and protection they longed for. But this was an act of unbelief, as they should have sought their welfare and hope in the Lord their God.

In the sermon I quoted a passage from Herman Bavinck’s Our Reasonable Faith (now called, The Wonderful Works of God). Bavinck captures perfectly, I think, the spiritual dynamic at work in the people of God in Isaiah’s time. They rejected the Lord, but insofar as they were pursuing the good only God can give, they were in a sense seeking him. Bavinck writes how this is the basic condition of fallen man: even as we flee from God our Creator, we seek him – wrongly – in the creature. Here’s what Bavinck wrote:

They seek Him and at the same time they flee Him. They have no interest in a knowledge of His ways, and yet they cannot do without Him. They feel themselves attracted to God and at the same time repelled by Him. In this, as Pascal so profoundly pointed out, consists the greatness and the miserableness of man. He longs for truth and is false by nature. He yearns for rest and throws himself from one diversion upon another. He pants for a permanent and eternal bliss and seizes on the pleasures of the moment. He seeks for God and loses himself in the creature. He is a born son of the house and he feeds on the husks of the swine in a strange land. He forsakes the fountain of living waters and hews out broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13). He is as a hungry man who dreams that he is eating, and when he awakes finds that his soul is empty; and he is like a thirsty man who dreams that he is drinking, and when he awakes finds that he is faint and that his soul has appetite (Is. 29:8). (pgs. 22-23, Our Reasonable Faith)

Or as Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Praise God for his grace to us, that he gives us true rest in his Son Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Johnson