Though the temple curtain was torn at Jesus’ crucifixion, many still live their lives behind a curtain that no longer separates them from God. It’s a guard we put up and a barricade we can break through, but don’t always choose to... Christ made a way, but we must walk through it.
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (NIV)
Seeking the LORD while he may be found means coming to Him fully through the way Jesus made on the cross, and being filled by the Holy Spirit, which allows us the capability to experience and understand God on a supernatural level. A more recognizable verse in this chapter of Isaiah lies just a few verses past the one above. It proclaims, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD” (Is. 55:8 NIV). Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah, the rescue of God’s people from an exile that hadn’t happened yet, and the eventual restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth.
What Does the Bible Mean by 'Seek the Lord While He May Be Found'?
“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)
The New International Version of Isaiah chapter 55 is titled, “Invitation to the Thirsty.” The New Living Translation titles it “Invitation to the LORD’s Salvation.” The English Standard Version, “The Compassion of the LORD.” The Passion Translation, “Invitation to an Abundant Life.” The Message Paraphrase, “But Without Money.” And the Amplified Bible, “The Free Offer of Mercy.” These chapter headings aid us in understanding the meaning of verse 6. Found, in this context, has 26 different definitions according to Strongs, some meaning to find or attain, to encounter, learn, meet, to be found. We are no longer separated from God as His people were at the time Isaiah was writing. He is accessible to us through Christ Jesus and wants us to turn to Him through His Son so He can fill us with His Holy Spirit!
Isaiah’s name means “The Lord Saves.” (NIV) The great prophet spent most of his life in Jerusalem and was married with children. In his divinely inspired message, he was projected into the future, much like the apostle John was in writing the book of Revelation. He warned Judah of their exile and spoke of their restoration by God, the Messiah to come, and God’s Kingdom on earth. “Through the work of God’s Messiah, people who do not know the Lord will come to know him,” the NIV Study Bible explains. “We need forgiveness, and we cannot pay for it. The good news of the suffering servant, however, is that God has paid the price for it. Justice has been satisfied through a sufficient substitute.”
The Book of Isaiah highlights God’s sovereignty, judgement, compassion, and salvation. His heart for His people (and us) not to perish without hope is evident in His promise to restore them continually, though they are constantly falling by the wayside. We pick up with Isaiah in chapter 55, when he is speaking of the predicted restoration from exile. Spiritual thirst describes a deep need for God. Isaiah 41:17 says, “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” (NIV)
Isaiah begins chapter 55 by stating: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no many, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Is. 55:1 (NIV)
Jesus proclaims He is the Living Water in the New Testament, but at the time Isaiah is writing, He has yet to come. Through Jesus, we experience a quenching of thirst in our souls, which was impossible to achieve before He defeated death on the cross.
Why Would Isaiah Say 'Seek the Lord' to the Israelites?
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 ESV)
Isaiah had connected with God and been given a peek into what is to come. The closeness he has experienced with God undoubtably caused him to want others to experience Him intimately, too! Through Isaiah, the Lord told His people- and encourages us today- to seek Him with our whole hearts so He can unlock what we don’t even know we don’t know! To seek the Lord in the context of Isaiah 55:6 is to seek Him wholeheartedly, not hypocritically.
Seeking the Lord benefits our souls. It leads us to a rich and satisfying life by God’s terms, not the shallow and fleeting ways of the world. Though the temple curtain was torn at Jesus’ crucifixion, many still live their lives behind a curtain that no longer separates them from God. It’s a guard we put up and a barricade we can break through, but don’t always choose to. We have to come to Him freely, seeking Him wholeheartedly. Christ made a way, but we must walk through it.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 reads: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” (NIV)
Amos 5:4 pleads, “Seek me and live!” Again in verse 6 the prophet wrote, “Seek the LORD and live…” And once again in verse 14, “Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.” (NIV)
Jesus came so we would live our lives to the full (John 10:10)! God has a purpose for everyone on this earth, and He desires each of us to travel the path of His will for our lives in a fulfilling, joy-filled journey of faithfulness.
Why Should You Seek the Lord Today?
“Seek the Lord Yahweh when he makes himself approachable; call upon him when you sense he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (TPT)
In order to live life to the fullest, we must seek the Lord with our whole hearts. Who wants to live half a life?! No one wants to be left in the dark as their friends laugh joyfully over a joke they share or an experience which brought them joy. Nor does God want us to miss out on experiencing Him, to the full, through Christ.
Jesus spoke of the same thirst for water Isaiah prophesied about. John recorded Jesus’ words about living water on two occasions. The first was in conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well: “Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” John 4:13-14 (NIV)
He spoke again of living water at the Festival of Tabernacles: “On the last and greater day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.’” John 7:37 (NIV)
Instead of drinking from the well of the world, which will never satisfy our spiritual thirst, Jesus provides a way for us to connect completely to the Father in Heaven by the Holy Spirit living in us. The Passion Translation of John 4:14 says, “For when you drink the water I give you, it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding you with endless life!”
The gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all of us, yet so often we choose to pass. There are many in this world who do not know of the quenching available through Christ. They are wandering in thirst. We are part of God’s plan to make Him known throughout the earth! But some of us, though we drink from the well of Living Water, sit idle in our calling to “Go”. James wrote: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:19-21 (NIV)
The Passion Translation reads: “My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us.”
We are set in our generations, purposefully, to listen to the LORD. As we seek Him wholeheartedly, the light of the Lord in us shines onto everyone around us.
Prayer to Seek the Lord
“So turn your attention and seek the Eternal One while it is still possible; call on Him while he is nearby.” Isaiah 55:6 (VOICE)
Just a few verses past the one we have studied today, You spoke through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)
We come close to You, God, because we need You to show us, guide us, and fill us with the wisdom we need to walk inYour ways, which we are not fully capable of understanding as human beings on this earth. As we learn to yield to the Spirit of God in us, which connects us to You intimately, let us grow in discernment, able to hear, listen, obey, and learn from our close connectedness to You. In Christ, we are able to draw near to You, Father. You take up residence in us, and we are amazed. It’s too much for us to comprehend, let alone know what to do with on a daily basis! Help us to humbly submit to and seek You with all of our hearts, fully and genuinely, all the days of our lives.
In Jesus’ Name,
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; Call on Him [for salvation] while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (AMP)
The Lord is near to us, every day and all of the time. We only need to turn to Him in order to experience life to the full, as we look forward to eternity with Him. No matter how many times we mess up the same things, He opens His arms and welcomes us home. God will always forgive us and never love us less. When we truly understand how long, wide, and deep His love is for us, we come to Him with repentant hearts, listening… allowing Him to change us and become more like Christ each day through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit living in us. Seek the Lord while He may be found.
The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible. Copyright © 2021 by Zondervan. All rights reserved.
NIV Study Bible Notes, Fully Revised Edition. NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.com. She is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.