Psalm 145:18 – “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
This morning as I sat down to read my Bible, I went on to my Bible app to check what my scheduled reading was for today. As I opened the app, I saw an image on the main screen with Psalm 145:18 on it. You’ve seen these kinds of images shared on social media. The image was a nice modern looking abstract image, with stylized font meant to make you feel good as you read the promise God gives us in Psalm 145. Before I even got to my time in the Word, I found myself meditating on Psalm 145:18.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” What does it mean for God to be near? What does it mean to call on him in truth? God is omnipresent, so what does it mean that he becomes near to us in a way that he wasn’t before?
Throughout Scripture, there are times when God’s presence was manifested in a way that was much more obvious than other times. In the book of Ezekiel, we even see God’s presence depart from the temple. The glory of God was there in the temple, and then Ezekiel saw it depart. So when Psalm 145:18 tells us that the Lord is near to us who call on him in truth, what we are told is that God manifests his presence to us in a special way when we call on him in truth.
Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord is our shepherd who guides us along still rivers, and through difficult valleys. The “valley of the shadow of death” is a place of suffering that the Lord leads us through. In those moments, is the Lord still near to us? Of course. Does he feel near to us? Probably not.
If you have gone through significant suffering and hardship, you fully understand how God feels distant in those times. At the same time, God promises us something very simple and basic: whether you feel it immediately in the moment or not, the Lord is near to you when you call on the Lord in truth. When you humble yourselves and cry out, God promises that he will show us his grace and kindness in numerous ways. He gives us strength in the midst of our weakness. He comforts us in our sadness. He provides what is best for us in our time of need. He gives us boldness when we’re overcome with timidity. He opens our mouths to speak even though like Moses, there is nothing in us naturally that should be able to speak. He gives us clarity of mind in confusion or question. The Lord is near to those who call on the Lord.
So what happens when we don’t call on him in truth? At best, we are able to rely on our own strength to get us through our hardship. At worst, we aren’t able to rely on our own strengths and we fail; and we realize how much we need the Lord. That being said, I should probably flip the wording of those two statements around. When we do not call on the Lord in our time of need, at best, we fail and realize we need the Lord; and at worst, we go on without the power of God at work in us, simply relying on our “strengths,” which in fact are actually quite weak.
At the very center and foundation of a vibrant abiding relationship with the Lord is an awareness within us that unless God is near, we cannot accomplish anything with any lasting spiritual significance. Let us be a people who daily, hourly, call on the Lord in truth!