Posted tagged ‘Freedom’

Our Refuge, His Presence

May 6, 2011

If you are poor, tired, forlorn, and lost there is a place you can go to meet Jesus. It does not depend on your being accepted by a bunch of snooty church folks, you do not have to wear the right clothing, or smell nice. It is a certain and guaranteed thing, because it depends on Jesus alone. Therefore it is not subject to the whims and religious attitudes of men. It is also a place that many have been denied, because the most basic information about it has been obscured for hundreds of years, yielding generations of babies who know a little (or maybe just a lot of academic schlock) about Jesus, but who do not know Him personally (or by means of the Spirit).

 

The place I speak of is the place where Peter was when he was praying in Joppa, (Acts 10:10) and it is where John was when he mentions that he was “in the Spirit” at the beginning of “The Revelation Of John” (Revelation 1), It is where Paul was when he mentions casually that he was taken up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-6).

 

It is as if, when you hear the good news and accept it, you are set down in the outer courts of Solomon’s temple and you tramp around there enjoying all the praise bands and the religious goings on, but to get to the court of the Priests you have to seek the entrance, you have to find the door. Further on to gain access to the temple itself and the Holy of Holies which is your right as a child of the Living God, you have to find the entrance, The entrance in all cases is Jesus, getting to know Him in the most intimate way, is your doorway to these wonderful places. You might say, well this Scriptural evidence is sketchy, yet I am only scratching the surface, there are many examples of this in the New Testament, you just have to look for them, Jesus set the tone in this way of life by spending considerable time, alone with the Father, in prayer.

 

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

“19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves,” New Century Version

 

Paul said very much the same thing in several places in his epistles, and I would like to suggest to you that for Paul the Temple he once served and the temple God was building in His people were not so different, just far more personal.

 

When you ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:9-13) God sets up a place in your heart for His presence, a Holy of Holies to which you can retreat to be with Him. I also think that in a slightly different way He is speaking of the same thing when He said “Behold I stand at the door and knock,” Revelation 3:20-22
He encourages us to seek Him, but I believe that He also actively calls us to seek Him.

 

The initiative was God’s from the very beginning, it is our responsibility to respond. To live the life that He has so graciously provided we must walk with Him and dwell in Him. But the flesh resists this simple and beautiful gift which God has placed on our doorsteps. The flesh wants an appearance of Godliness, but please none of that radical stuff!! But sometimes, in it’s contrary way, the flesh makes a religious duty out of being radical. So you can see it all around you in the religious observances that Christians occupy themselves with every day.

 

On the one hand, it is fairly easy to detect an immature approach to the Lord, when others try to convince you to follow their example (and they will!), because the followers of babydom do not have the Spirit to guide them, they only have the book (the Bible) and lacking clarification from the Spirit they cling to whatever interpretation of Scripture they have obsessively, because that is all they have.

 

On the other hand, life in the Spirit is multifaceted, you can walk and talk with Him, listen to Him, and obey Him, He guides you, there are secrets and gifts He will share with you so that you may help people, and He has secrets and gifts for you alone, it is never dull and Scripture will unfold for you in the brilliant light of His Spirit, the very one who wrote it.

 

When you give up your feeble, and failed attempts at controlling your life and place yourself solely in His hands you will find that He is adding to you and augmenting your life beyond anything you ever thought possible.

 

This is our legitimate claim on Jesus, and He is pleased to help us receive it.

But it all starts when we find our refuge in Him, our sanctuary in His Presence.

Social Progress?

April 7, 2011

Social Progress, we talk about it all the time. Yes, I know you might be scratching your head and saying “Now wait no one has approached me and started to talk about that subject”. Ah but they do, whenever someone discusses racism, they may refer to what a non issue slavery is in our culture now, or maybe someone might mention that in Dicken’s time people were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, or how they used to burn witches at the stake. Yes indeed we talk about social progress all of the time, and usually in a self congratulatory fashion, as in, “oh we are so far past that awful business now”.

 

But are we? We may not keep people in chains now, but a person can be chained to a life of debt and underemployment, and if they try to run away or not fulfill their obligations they face dire consequences, in a different way of course, but I think you can see my point.

 

Have we come so far? When a family can be foreclosed on and thrown out of their home for having the misfortune of a change in the local property values? When a healthy man, even an educated man cannot find a job because he is over forty and might expect to be paid for his experience? Are we expressing that higher social conscience when we say that poor people don’t deserve financial help, or older people should be thrown out in the snow when they cannot pay their bills?

 

Truly Solomon was right when he declared that there is nothing new under the sun. The only difference in modern times is the spin the PR department puts on the unflattering story. People have not changed all that much, they are still proud, avaricious, selfish, and unfeeling about the troubles of others, yes even the troubles they have caused for other people.

 

So if you owe money to a person or a corporation, or if you depend on someone else’s good sense and judgement for your employment, your circumstances could change in an instant, depending on the whims of others. And these examples are just a particle of the storms we could face in our lives.

 

I was meditating on Scripture once, it was the passage in Matthew 13 where Jesus is teaching the people from a boat, and then I found myself in the boat, keeping it steady with the oars as the Lord taught the people. Then He turned to me and said let’s go on across the lake, so I turned the boat and pulled at the oars to move on out. The wind picked up and the waves got higher and I was beginning to struggle with the oars. Jesus told me to scoot over and He sat down on the bench next to me and took up one of the oars. He talked and laughed when the waves threw spray over the bow, wetting us. Suddenly a squall burst over us and we continued pulling hard at the oars for as the waves become more violent you must maintain way or the waves will broach the boat and you will founder. So we kept on and this time Jesus did not rebuke the storm as it struck us, and a right violent squall it was, but He stayed right there beside me pulling at His oar right along with me, and we made it safely through that pitiless squall, we had taken on some water, sloshing around our feet, but in all other respects we were still sea worthy. The sun came out and Jesus rather playfully threw His arm over my shoulders. We were brothers in labor and we had weathered the worst and we laughed at the things in life that would have foundered us, and sent our boat straight to the bottom. Some other things happened too, but when I recall that vision I remember how the Lord threw His arm around me and we laughed, He was preparing me for the storms in my life, because the lesson, of course, is that He is with us and He will see us through even the toughest situations, for you see it was not just my boat, it is His too.

Why Do We?

January 15, 2011

Why do we use “crossing the Jordan” as a metaphor for physical death when we can live in the Promised land now (by means of the Spirit)?

Why do we not find fault with a minister whose idea of “being a servant” is to insist on being honored and having authority over us?

Why do we find fault with people who fall down when someone prays for them? Maybe they are more comfortable on the floor.

Why do we read about the Spirit in the Bible, but only think about the flesh?

Why do we tolerate preachers who push us down when they pray for us?

Why do we hold hands and proclaim our unity in the sanctuary, but get into a heated theological debate in the vestibule?

Why do some congregations throw people out when they dance in the aisles? After all, that could be the high point of the service!

Why do we say that we love God and live only for Him, when all of our desires and plans have to do with making our way in this world?

Why do we obsess about sin when Jesus already took care of that? If you are troubled, humble contrition is all that is needed, He is in His office 24/7.

Why do we gather with that same old group of crabby, and/or unnaturally cheerful people each week and call it church?

Why do we feel that the people in a church building are God’s people when the plastic smiles and handshakes are less genuine than Madoff’s hedge fund?

Why do we pass up an opportunity to help someone, so that we might get to church on time?

Why are we so sad at funerals (not counting relatives and close friends who are sad because they will truly miss the deceased) when we say that “he/she is with Jesus now”?

Why oh why do we believe the promises of men which are nearly always empty lies, while we ignore the true promises of God.

Why are we content to live shallow lives when we could be living in the fullness of His Spirit?

If you have done one or two, or more, of these things and understand how inconsistent they are, congratulations you are human.

For that matter if you drew breath and opened your eyes this morning you are human.

We all have needs, to love and to be loved, to be sheltered and fed, but most of all we need God.

Our need for God is apparent when we hunger and thirst for justice, or love, or friendship, or even for a break from the chaos which is this world.

God can bring us peace, love, provision, and companionship, if we will have it.

We can live in Him, in union with Him.

Jesus is the cure for our feckless humanity.

I Don’t Have To Shoot You

October 1, 2010

I am a person like you are, I have my quirks and shortcomings, I eat too much of the foods I like, and I will talk too much about myself if you will let me. I am a person who lost his way in a labyrinth of self pity for a time, drunkenly sobbing about my missed opportunities. I am a person who woke up to the reality that no one in this world wanted to help me, spoiled brat that I am. I am hungry at times, I thirst at times, I need sleep and don’t always get enough. In short I am a person who is a lot like you in many ways, and I don’t have to shoot you.

I am also a person who had to deal with rage issues, for a while I wanted so badly to hurt the people who hurt me. I realized that hurting them was not a good solution, in fact it was not a solution at all. Then I climbed out of the deep hole which I had dug for myself, into the bright sunlight of Jesus’ presence. My experience has taught me that if you are headed the wrong way Spiritually I probably won’t be able to talk you out of it. I am not offended by your misdirection and it would be misguided of me to interfere with your (mis)adventure. Some time ago it used to be considered OK to kill someone for not being orthodox in the faith, but I don’t have to do that to you. I remember enough about my journey to understand that you are probably hurting yourself worse than anything I could do to you. I know that one day you will come to a cliff and you will have to decide whether to jump off or not.

I don’t have to shoot you, but you may be in danger of doing it to yourself someday.

If you decide not to jump off that cliff, and you want to talk, give me a call, drop me an e-mail, knock on my door, stop me on the street. I have been in a similar hole, I have stood on a similar cliff. and I backed away from the brink. When I turned away from death I discovered that life had been waiting for me all the time. When you are ready, we’ll talk about it.

Sorrow Into Joy

September 28, 2010

When we are ready to lay down our lives for Him, God will open our eyes.
For you see as we give up our desires and let go of our selfish demands, we will better understand the selfless action He took for our sakes,
not total understanding, but better.
As we open our hearts to Him, we will allow Him to show us what is in His heart.
Because by opening our hearts the way He opened His for us we can begin to understand what He gave us, that terrible afternoon on Calvary.
Yes, we will begin to understand, yet He will bring it all into fruition.
He has been and He will be our teacher. He died to share His life with us, to recreate us in His image,
to change us from being petty and small to being great and generous as He is.
He has so much to show us.

Why is it we couldn’t see before?
Why couldn’t we know Him and His heart?
In the life most of us presently lead, our own desires and needs blind us to everything else, we are infatuated by the mirror of our ego.
What we want is even more important to us than who we are.
We think that we can construct a new version of ourselves by succeeding in the world.
We would gladly turn away from love and justice to gain wealth and power, things that in this transitory world will only last a fortnight, then vanish like a vapor, the whole world could fall to pieces around us and we would still cling to the forlorn hope that this kind of success will make a difference.
We are truly and tragically blind.
How wise Dante was to inscribe the entrance to hell with
“Abandon hope all ye who enter here”,
there is no hope, no change, and no true reform in the confines of a self-centered life.
In our blindness this is all we can see, and in this hopeless state of mind many have despaired of light and life, and they have embraced the empty coldness of life without hope.
But even from the cold, dead, depths Jesus can lead us into the light.
How do you think that Saul of Tarsus felt as he sat in darkness, blind and forlorn in Damascus?
The Lord had broken through his daydream of righteous indignation, and told Him that he was wrong, that he was persecuting God and His people.
After all the things Saul had done in his life dedicating himself to the service of God, he must have sat in a well of despair waiting for what God had for him next, with his hopes of righteous achievement dashed.
Surely he would have thought “God will soon finish me off”, for the wicked all have the same dire fate in the Scriptures.
All of his training told him that a swift end lay ahead for him, for God did not suffer the wicked to succeed for long.
But God raised Saul up out of his despair and restored his sight. God took him and made a new man of him. He renewed Saul’s heart and God Himself took Saul in hand to instruct him and prepare him to become an Apostle.
God opened the door to Saul’s personal prison of despair and set him free.
Ever since the day of Pentecost people everywhere have been given the opportunity to seek Him, and sadly most people could care less.
Do not lose your opportunity to seek and find the Lord of Creation.
Do not turn aside as so very many have and reject His gift, the gift of His life.
You can walk with Him everyday. You can come to know Him, the one who loves you and gave His life for you. But it will cost all of your selfish desires, all of your meagre resources to gain everything in Him. Lay the burdens of this world down, all of the empty, haunted castles of your dreams, all of the forlorn hopes, they are nothing but garbage anyway. Hand them over to Jesus, He will know what to do with them for He will restore you, He will shape your life into something useful. He will turn your sorrows into joy.

Mysteries

August 6, 2010

I remember when I was young, I was often frustrated when I asked a question of a religious teacher and was told that the question I had asked concerned one of the “mysteries” of God. Now all of these years later I cannot say how important my questions were. I cannot tell if the teacher was giving me an honest answer or just putting me off either, but I can say while I am musing over my reminiscences that there are definitely mysteries depicted in Scripture.

One of these is the peculiar relationship God had with Jacob the trickster. Jacob was kind of an ornery fellow who schemed to get his brother to sell him his inheritance and tricked his father Isaac into giving him Isaac’s final blessing as he masqueraded as Esau. Yet God says in Malachi 1:2-5

2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD “Yet I have loved Jacob;
3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”
4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the LORD of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.”
5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!”
Malachi 1:2-5 NASB

It is interesting to note that often when Edom (Esau’s descendants) had a choice to make, they tended to take the wrong one.
When God was judging Judah for her idolatry and lax devotion to the laws He gave her, He sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and burn the temple, an action which He had ordained, but when Edom joined in on the side of the Babylonians and enthusiastically killed their brothers, God was angry and determined to destroy Edom for their treachery.

11 This is what the LORD says:
“The people of Edom have sinned again and again,
 and I will not let them go unpunished!
 They chased down their relatives, the Israelites, with swords,
 showing them no mercy.
 In their rage, they slashed them continually
 and were unrelenting in their anger.
 12 So I will send down fire on Teman,
 and the fortresses of Bozrah will be destroyed.”
Amos 1:11-12 (NLT)

In Jeremiah 49:7-11 He says
7 This message was given concerning Edom. This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Is there no wisdom in Teman?
Is no one left to give wise counsel?
8 Turn and flee!
Hide in deep caves, you people of Dedan!
For when I bring disaster on Edom,
I will punish you, too!
9 Those who harvest grapes
always leave a few for the poor.
If thieves came at night,
they would not take everything.
10 But I will strip bare the land of Edom,
and there will be no place left to hide.
Its children, its brothers, and its neighbors
will all be destroyed,
and Edom itself will be no more.
11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you.
Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.”
Jeremiah 49:7-11 NLT

I think it is naïve of so many people who insist that God shouldn’t have judged and destroyed people in the Old Testament. Do they have any idea how evil these people were? Do they think that God just takes pleasure in destroying anyone?
How is it that God loves Jacob and despises Esau? And as it turns out Edom (Esau) only confirmed God’s decision by their actions. This is truly a mystery, but we are not without illumination. Paul treats this very subject in Romans

8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.
9 For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins.
11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes;
12 he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”
13 In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”
14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!
15 For God said to Moses,
“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.
17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”
18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”
20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”
Romans 9:8-20 (NLT)

We have had a couple of centuries when many, many people have judged God according to their own notions of propriety. They do not accept that God knows what He is doing, they can’t stand the idea that God would judge and destroy someone. So the question has become are we going to accept that God has His own criteria in judging or is the pot going to judge the potter?

13 The Lord says: 
  “These people worship me with their mouths, 
  and honor me with their lips, 
  but their hearts are far from me. 
  Their worship is based on 
  nothing but human rules.
14 So I will continue to amaze these people 
 by doing more and more miracles. 
 Their wise men will lose their wisdom; 
 their wise men will not be able to understand.”

15 How terrible it will be for those who try 
  to hide things from the LORD 
  and who do their work in darkness. 
  They think no one will see them or know what they do.
16 You are confused. 
  You think the clay is equal to the potter. 
  You think that an object can tell the one who made it, 
 “You didn’t make me.” 
  This is like a pot telling its maker, 
 “You don’t know anything.”

Isaiah 29:13-16 (New Century Version)

Is this not the very thing Jesus is casually mentioning here in John 9.

1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.
5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:1-5 (NLT)

Our modern sensibilities rebel at the thought of a man who spent years, perhaps thirty of them, in a condition so desperate that all he could do was beg for his bread. There were no other options for this man, before he met Jesus, and for no other reason than to show God’s power at God’s whim. We must steel ourselves to this startling revelation, but God was playing God again.

Don’t you see that whatever gifts and talents you may have, you also have faults and impediments and that they were put there by the God who loves you? God loved that man who was blind from birth as well and while He may have condemned him to decades of blindness, He didn’t leave him in that condition. It could be said that the blind man received a greater gift than any we have heard of in our day.

Oh! What a wonderful thing at the end of all of that despair and humiliation to see Jesus’ face as the first thing his eyes beheld in this world. The first thing he saw with his eyes was the Light of the world.

Call Upon The Name Of The Lord

July 20, 2010

I have noticed recently a trend among the hip christians who like to have endless theological discussions on Facebook, this trend is demonstrated by the comment
“I couldn’t love the God of the Old Testament (hereafter OT), He is a murderer and He seems to delight in torturing people.”
This comment and many others like it reveal something about the people who make them. They have a thorough lack of understanding of the God of the OT.
In the OT God is sovereign, God is feared, and most of all God is right.

One of the effects of the fall and subsequent removal of Adam and Eve from the garden is an irrational fear of God. They hid out of fear from the very person they had been walking with just the evening before. With their act of rebellion they slipped from knowing God with certainty, to knowing that they were grossly imperfect and that God could destroy them, therefore they no longer believed in God’s demonstrated love toward them, they foundered on the rocks of fear and doubt, they even doubted that God had told them the truth, and they became strangers to the one who loved them most. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they left God, not the other way around. When they fell Adam and Eve were no longer equipped to live in the presence of God. By listening to and believing the serpent, and turning their backs on the Lord, they had made their decision. So they had to be evicted from the garden.

This is a matter of putting another being before God, believing the words of another over God’s words. they listened to the serpent and believed the serpent’s lies over all that God had told them. There are some very interesting places in the OT where God could have taken another tack with us. One of those is in Genesis. If Adam had thrown Himself on the Lord’s mercy and confessed, things would have turned out rather differently for them. But he didn’t confess, he lied and blamed his wife and she blamed the serpent, and this is why I underscore the point that Adam and Eve left God not the other way around. They could have asked Him for and received forgiveness.

This becomes even more apparent when you read the chat that the Lord has with Cain, now the occasion was that Cain and Abel had each brought offerings to the Lord Cain of his harvest for he was a farmer, and Abel of his flocks for he was a shepherd. God favored Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. Now it is obvious from the context that Cain and God had quite a conversation, so it is evident that Cain was able to hear God. It also shows that God was interested in helping Cain. The problem was not that Cain did not believe in God, he did believe and he conversed with Him. The problem was that Cain insisted that God regard his offering with equal favor to that of Abel. Cain wanted to tell God what to do and he sought to force God’s hand by murdering his competition for God’s favor. This is obviously an evil attitude. And after the murder did Cain ask for forgiveness? No way dude, he just spent a half a chapter bewailing his cursed situation. We would call it crying in his beer.

Then a little later, God brings our attention to something new which was happening He introduces us to Enoch and he talks about how Enoch walked with the Lord for 300 years and then God took him.
Now in the world which Genesis unfolds for us which is becoming increasingly rebellious, wicked and willful, God brings us the story of someone who knew Him and walked with Him. Someone who had a close relationship with Him, and shortly afterward God judges the earth and it’s inhabitants and destroys them. But standing on it’s own, in glaring contrast to that judgement, is the treatment He gave to the man who knew Him, who walked with Him. God received Enoch to Himself, He preserved Enoch’s righteous offspring Noah and his family and He disposed of the wicked ones.

When I was a kid I read about the Nuremberg trials for the Nazi war crimes and later the capture of Adolf Eichmann, I remember that for the worst crimes against humanity imagineable there was only hanging as an option. If human courts and human judges can only think of swift execution as the penalty for unbelievable evil and that is considered just, then don’t you understand that God who knows every motive and evil deed is certainly entitled to do with us as He sees fit.

Now I don’t know about you, but instead of playing at being God by judging God I think I would like to understand what the narrative is telling me. It is saying that if I walk with God like Enoch did, and indeed Adam and Eve before the fall, if I get to know God, then God will preserve me and take me into His own care, and not only that but He will walk and talk with me as a friend, but if I turn my back on Him, pursue my own selfish interests and try to hang labels on God and judge the righteous judge (as did Cain and the pharisees) He will declare that He does not know me and He will cast me out.

Time after time in the OT we find God expounding upon and often mourning His loss of relationship with His people, from the high poetry of David, to the amazing pronouncements of Isaiah, to the tearful pleadings of Jeremiah. Again, again, and again God calls His own into deeper relationship, a call which was largely ignored. Again and yet again He puts the most important messages for Israel and Judah in strictly relational terms. If His people sought Him and walked humbly with Him, He would preserve, and cherish them, as a husband would his wife, but if they were unfaithful to Him and worshipped idols he would turn His back on them and destruction would surely follow.

So finally we come to this, the most amazing declaration from the “angry” God of the OT hidden in the middle of one of the most legalistic of the books of the law.

“1  “When the time arrives that all these things have come upon you, both the blessing and the curse which I have presented to you; and you are there among the nations to which ADONAI your God has driven you; then, at last, you will start thinking about what has happened to you;  2  and you will return to ADONAI your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today – you and your children, with all your heart and all your being.  3  At that point, ADONAI your God will reverse your exile and show you mercy; he will return and gather you from all the peoples to which ADONAI your God scattered you.  4  If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky, ADONAI your God will gather you even from there; he will go there and get you.  5  ADONAI your God will bring you back into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you prosper there, and you will become even more numerous than your ancestors.  6  Then ADONAI your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live.”

Deuteronomy 30:1-6 The Complete Jewish Bible

Can’t you see He is saying when you return to Me I will return to you, but the message is actually much deeper than that, He means, when you return to Me I will be there for I did not leave you, it is you who left Me.

This is the very same message Jesus brought to Judah in His day,
Jesus said
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
Matthew 23:37 NKJV

Jesus said
10″For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10 NASB

Jesus said
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
John 5:39-40 NLT

Jesus said
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV

God’s message of relationship has never changed. It is and always has been God who has come after us.
Do not be deceived, we are not going to suddenly get up one day and heroically thrash through the impassible jungle to find Him. Not even close!
He is standing next to you waiting for you to respond to Him. He is closer than you think. He is closer than your next breath. And it was the same for the people of the OT it’s just that the Messiah had not yet come.