The Father’s Longing

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Series: Other Speakers

Sun am 15th June 2014 – Alan Scotland

Isa.30:18-30; Ps.23:4

I want to share with you a few thoughts about the Father’s heart. We need to awaken to the reality of God’s heart for us. Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. … The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. Behold, the name of the Lord comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation. And His tongue is like a consuming fire; His breath is like an overflowing torrent, Which reaches to the neck, To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin. You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival, And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, To go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. And the Lord will cause His voice of authority to be heard, And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, And in the flame of a consuming fire in cloudburst, downpour and hailstones (Isa. 30:18-30). The context of these prophecies is one of turbulence. The people are tested, much of it by their own fault. They are going through difficult stormy times and they are engulfed with fear. Then pride is getting in the way so they are not really going to the right source for their supply. They are thinking of Pharaoh, they are thinking of what man can do. They have eliminated in their mind the voice of God. At this very juncture in their lives, where they are in fear and mixed with pride and really out of touch with God, God begins to express Himself. It is almost as if it is all pent up in His Heart. The first thing the prophet speaks: “God has longings; God has deep desires, the Father feels like a father to His children”. This is the nature of God. God is a Father. A father feels and a father thinks and a father cares. The image of fatherhood is nothing like the best of us as fathers. He is far greater; why even Jesus has a nickname “Father of mercies”. Ephesian makes it clear that God is a Merciful God. He has desires. Would not any father want the best? Would not any father think about his off-spring? Would not any father have a heart behind the decisions that he makes? Could not any father be hurt? There is a sense of feeling the wounds of rejection. This is the context that the word is coming to the people that the father is going to take action but it is important that we understand that He has longings and His greatest longing is that we will have an appetite, a desire, a will to respond to Him, to listen to Him; to heed Him. The Lord has longings; He longs to be gracious to you.

Our Father is a Father of mercy. Our Father is a father of grace. This Scripture that we read, we look at a synergy of administrations from the Old to the New, we see the administration of the Father, the administration of the Son and now we live under the administration of the Spirit. They are all intertwined together and as we peep in through the window into this moment when the word of the Lord is coming to his people, we realize that there is a divine plan that God has for us. He is not against us, God knows our frame, He knows our weaknesses. God is not a God who points fingers to belittle or to lie. He is a God who cares, a God who loves; a God who thinks things through and has deep longings. This is the longing of God that his people will have the longing for Him, the desire to commune, to fellowship with Him.

We live in a fractured world that is twisted in many ways. Celebrity is more important that character. If you can gild it with gold and silver no matter what it is, it is more valuable. Religion can be like that. We can dress it all up so it looks perfect but it is nothing like reality. The prophet is coming to his people and says: it is time to take the sign down “Do not disturb”. It is time to wake up to the reality that you have a Father to whom you are accountable. It is time for you to draw deeply on His provision for He longs to be gracious. There is a thing of timing. Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you (Isa.30:18). God is not ad-hoc. God thinks things through carefully for your wellbeing; the timings, the seasons.

So in the seasons that we go though; the highs and the lows, if you are always on the highs then you are not real. It is a blessing to know with all our strengths and weaknesses that we cannot succeed without the Father; without His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness and His strength. God is waiting for the right moment. The right moment is when we stop running after the wrong things and we start to turn to Him with hunger and a thirst after Him. We have our tests, trials and challenges. We are reminded of our mortality. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Why? Because Your rod and Your staff are with me (Ps. 23:4). Be careful you do not give up when the devil wants you to. Do not doubt God’s heart for you. Do not ever say you are orphaned, God is your father and you will be blessed of Him. Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture (Isa. 30:23).

God wants to deal with the illusion that exists among God’s people that they are in control. The illusion that we are in control – God says, “I have entrusted you with the seed, you sow it and I will water it.” One may plant, the other may water, but it is God who gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Most people think that they can do the will of God in their own strength, you cannot, it is impossible. But with God you can do all things. What is entrusted in you is not the control, what is entrusted to you is the faith to sow the seed. God wants to give you increase. God wants transformation for every one of us. He wants to deal with the poverty minded spirit. If you are a good steward of what God has for you, God will increase you, bless you and enlarge you.

On the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. It is hard to know it, but God does bruise us. There are times that God says, “It is not the devil, it is Me.” God says “I will heal the fractures and deal with the bruises because I will show my compassion.” He does not forsake us. “I am with you always until the job is completed.” Jesus was totally broken and under pressure and the angels come to minister strength to Him. God waits to be gracious to us. God is taking care. God is a good Father; whatever the winds of change, whatever turbulence you go through, He is with you, He will never leave you. God give us songs in the night, gladness in our heart and cause us to rely on You as our Rock and our Salvation. Let God disturb you, let God break in on you; that is the key to your future.