Skip to content

Reach Back to God

God is holding out his hands. Reach back with your heart.

You can follow God’s thoughts, answer God’s call, listen to God’s speech, and choose that in which God delights.

But the matter was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people regarding all that they say to you, because they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have abandoned Me and served other Gods—so they are doing to you as well.” – 1 Samuel 8:6-8 (NASB, emphasis added)

The people in1 Samuel 7:3-8:9 wanted God’s help. But they didn’t want him as their king or their God.

The night after I had read this account in Scripture, I found myself thinking of times when I had held out kindness to others, or a request for forgiveness, or friendship, and the other did not reach back.

I said, “Lord, why am I doing this? I don’t want to rehash hurts; I want to think about what is pure, and lovely, and of a good report.”

But then I noticed that I wasn’t reliving hurts, or even going down old, closed roads of pain, and that God was pointing at something I could understand as an example of what he wanted to talk to me about.

He then showed me that he continually holds out his arms to his people, and many do not reach back.

  • “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, A people who continually provoke me to My face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks….” – Isaiah 65:2 (NASB) (See all of Isaiah 65 for full context.)


  • “I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not listen. Instead, you did evil in My sight—and chose that in which I did not delight.” – Isaiah 65:12 (NASB)

So, here is the context for how Samuel is feeling, and how God is seeing things. This is the backdrop for the words spoken by the people (rejecting God’s good advice; demanding their own way instead), and by Samuel (being displeased with the people and going to God for direction about what to do), and by God (telling Samuel to let the people have their free will; that they are rejecting God, and that he will allow them to do so). (See 1 Samuel 8:7-22 and 1 Samuel 9:27.)

The undercurrent is a God spreading out his hands to a people who don’t reach back with their hearts, as described in Isaiah 65. It’s a story of people making a choice. It was a choice that God advised against, but the people “chose that in which I did not delight” (Isaiah 65:12 NASB).

Look at what they missed. They could have reached back all day—to God’s outstretched hands. They could have followed God’s thoughts. They could have answered God’s call, listened to God’s speech, and chosen that in which God did delight.

Look what God wants to do for his people. “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will listen.” – Isaiah 65:24 (NASB)

Prayer for one who wants to become a friend of God:

God, thank you for holding out your hands to me. Help me to reach back to you now with my heart.

Prayer for one who is already a friend of God:

God, thank you for your Holy Spirit living in me. Thank you that I can follow your thoughts, answer your call, listen to your speech, and choose that in which you delight; help me do that. Thank you that before I call, you will answer, and that while I am still speaking, you will listen.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Published inBlog

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *