Elohim Mikarov – The God Who Is Near (Jeremiah 23: 23)

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Elohim Mikarov – The God Who Is Near (Jeremiah 23: 23). In Jeremiah 23: 23, we read, “’Am I a God near at hand,’ says the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off?”’ God is speaking here to the Israelites regarding sinful prophets who seemingly are escaping God’s punishment. To all appearances, they are getting away with their lies. In asking this question, God reminds the Israelites that He is both a God who is near and a God who can see all things afar off-because, as He goes on to say in verse 24, “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”

We see the nearness of God throughout Scripture. Psalm 119: 151 says, “You are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are truth”. The word translated “near” is “qarowb”, which means near in the sense of place, time, or personal relationship. It’s from the root word “qarab”, which means “to approach”.

This (Qarowb) is the same word used in Psalm 145: 18 “ The Lord is near to all who can upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth”. And it’s the same word found in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.

Psalm 73:28 says, “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God an made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works”. And in the New Testament, James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come nert to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded”

God is the God who is near – who is “at hand”. Yet, he also tells us to draw near to him. Not simply with our words but with our hearts in sincerity and in truth.

We can say, “Well, we are all near to God, because He is everywhere”. But as we saw, nearness is not simply of time or place but also of relationship. I can be standing right next to someone but not be in relationship with that person – even though we are “near”

Jesus had harsh rebuke for the pious religious leaders of his day when he said to them in Matthew 15 “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”.

Lip service can never bring us close in relationship to the God who promises to come near to us as we come near to Him. The writer of Hebrews says as mush: “For the law never made anything perfect but instead a better hope is introduced through which we (now) come close to God”. What – or rather, Who is this hope? Hebrews 6: 19-20 has the answer “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever…”

Through Jesus, our blameless sacrifice and high priest who forever lives to make intercession for us, we can come near to God. And in His presence, there is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11).

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