There are some people in the scriptures who have drawn near in one way or the other.
“21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.”
Isaac needed to make Jacob come near so that he will be sure whether he is his real son (Esau) that he intended to bless. God on the other hand does not need such to bless us. What Isaac was looking for why he told Jacob to draw near was to feel Jacob ‘s hand and to also smell it because Esau, who he intended to bless happened to be a hairy hunter. There are ways that hunters smell which connotes that he will know the identity of the man since he could not see again being a very old man. All that wouldn’t have been necessary if the voice Isaac was hearing was Esau’s voice. So, since there was suspicion in that voice, Isaac said “draw near”.
Therefore, there are some “draw near” that reveals the correct identity of the person that is drawing near. The drawing near Isaac demanded was to confirm whether the one that had come to him was Esau or not. As much as Isaac was trying to identify the personalty of Jacob, he was was not successful because eventually he was deceived despite the fact that Jacob drew near to him. He felt the hand of Jacob and smelt his body. Man can make such a mistake but not God.
“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off”.
When you are trying to deceive another man, He knows. When you are telling lies, He knows. Jesus was going one day and said He saw Nathaniel from afar. When Nathaniel moved close, He told him “I saw you while you are under the tree”. The mentality of an average man is that God is like an Isaac. People’s thinking is that they needed to get close to God before He knows that they are a sinners. God knows the heart of husband that who intends to kill his wife though they sleep together on the bed. It will be stupid of us to think that God did not know us.
The reason some do not answer to altar calls at times is that they think God does not know them. So they hide even when their cases are being mentioned. Instead of them to come for prayers and cry to the Lord for deliverance and for Him to meet with them to change their course in life, they will be hiding.
Do you think the skin of the animal you are wearing and that cloth you are putting on will cause God to make mistake like Isaac. Unfortunately, God knew every man on the surface of the earth. So if you are a sinner and you refused to respond when God is calling, you are only doing yourself more harm than good.
This is the idea the devil sold to us. This is why several of us will go to church and attend conventions, conferences, sit at every meetings, look comfortable, become workers, pastors and continue to think that all the things that gave them acceptance among men is sufficient but it is not. Why? God is not like Isaac.
“3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.”
When God said draw near I became afraid. It is like He cannot behold dirty things, so He said ‘wash your clothes and sanctify them (that is, make them clean). I am coming down and they are going to be near to Me. The truth of the matter is that if they touch where I am, they can die.’ That was when I began to understand that it was because God is a righteous God. The righteousness of God cannot be met with our dirtiness. God recognizes our unrighteousness.
“I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.”
God recognized our unrighteousness yet He says, ‘I bring near my righteousness’. As He has now brought His righteousness, I hear Him saying, ‘set the boundary’. Which means there is a distance you can go and there is how far you cannot go. When you go too far to where you are not supposed to go, the Bible says such a person would die.
I don’t know the degree of both your unrighteousness and your righteousness. As much as God is saying come near, I hear Him saying set a boundary. The truth of the matter is that a child that is going to go far with God must come very near. I see that those that God sets boundaries for are those who are not readily available to release their degree of unrighteousness at the feet of the Master.
Several people have attended several meetings, yet they didn’t change. The meetings didn’t change them. They managed to change for one week or two and by the third week, they are back to their sins. I hear God says, set a boundary for him.
Do you know why I know? Comparing Zacchaeus in the book of Luke 19:2-8 with the Exodus story that we read earlier, it looked as if God could not allow some of His children that He knows and love come close to where He is standing; which means, they could still have been filled with deception and so are not able to stand where they ought to stand. He didn’t trust them.
How would God says draw near and yet would not trust you? That is the matter the Lord is bringing to you now. What will make God not to trust you, though He has said to you, ‘draw near’? He is actually expecting you to draw near so that He could embrace you. But He would not embrace you when He is not sure of your determination to come in total obedience. For Zacchaeus, he came with full determination, though he was of short stature. Maybe it was sin that cut him short. The Bible says for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Sin might have cut you short. You must recognize your stature. As much as sin must have cut you short, seeing God will be difficult.
I wish every one of us will meet with the Lord, but the truth of the matter is that we must recognize our stature before we can meet Him.
How far has sin dealt with you? Zacchaeus recognized his stature and what did he do? He climbed the Sycamore tree. Why? He wanted to see the Lord! What Sycamore tree must you climb? What personal effort have you made to meet your maker? I hear God says I will set a boundary and you will be close but not too close. The reason is that you are dangerous. Jesus could have just preached to Zacchaeus on that tree but because He saw his determination, He said, ‘today, I must come into your house to dine with you’. Jesus desired to get closer to him, and eat with him, though, he was a sinner. He never cared because He saw his determination.
Zacchaeus took a risk to climb a tree. What risk are you going to take before the Lord? The risk you are going to take is dependent on the degree of success you are going to have..You are going to take the risk of submitting all at the feet of Christ. You are going to cry to the Lord that “Lord I have been coming for altar calls but this one is different. The very day I’ll go back, Lord, take my life before I do so”.
If you are having illicit relationships, you must stop it today. If you are in the habit of stealing money in your office, or you are so cunning or that you are not straight-forward, you must make restitution. The height that people will go with God that is the level of determination and submission they will have to make.
Paul said, ‘though I am the least of the apostles but it seems I am taking the lead now’ because he wrote about seventy percent of the gospel. Where was Peter? Peter could not catch up with him because when Paul gave his life we didn’t hear that he went back but for Peter, the Bible says, he followed the Lord at a distance. That was why he could deny Jesus easily before a damsel and the people. Though he claimed to have drawn near with his mouth saying ‘Master, I love you, I will not deny you’. I saw that Christ was not moved because He said to him, ‘before the cock crow, you would have denied me thrice’. Why did he say so? He knew men and their thought from a far.
Like Zacchaeus of old, what are you going to do to show to Jesus that this time you are serious? Some of your problems remained with you because of the level of your unseriousness. The lord says, ‘draw near me and I will draw near to you’. Which means, it is the degree at which you draw near to God that the Lord will draw near to you (James 4:8). He will not draw near to you if you are unserious, one who will come to the Lord to love Him today and tomorrow, they are distant from Him.
There are always two categories of people; those He will set a bound for and those that God will come down and dine with, and talk to their hears. God is looking for a category who will say ‘Lord, I will go all the way with you’. But you have to take a risk. And that is why you will make a vow to Him that you will not go back again no matter what. The prayer I want you to pray is the prayer of realization. Tell the Lord that you want to draw near, you want to be intimate with Him.