The Only Plea, The Safest Plea

I’m going to suggest that, in our circles, when we talk about “turning,” most often, if not always, we’re thinking in terms of turning to God. When we think about our sin, we often speak of the need to make a 180 degree course correction, turning from our sin and towards the Savior. And when we talk about our suffering, we turn to God for comfort and endurance. We are the turners. Seems kind of appropriate. He is God and nothing less, we are man and nothing more — if anybody’s going to be turning to anybody, just seems it should be the lesser to the Greater.

While I believe that’s true, I’m not sure we could do even that if not for a God who turns to us.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is Your way with those who love Your name.

(Psalm 119:132 ESV)

Turn to me. Older translations render it “look to me.” Found only in the Psalms, and that but four times.

What a bold thing for the songwriter to sing. Perhaps audacious even, considering it’s an ask of the created to their Creator. Maybe somewhat risky, coming from a sinner to the Sovereign, from one prone to stumble in the darkness to the One who lives in unapproachable light.

Aren’t we more comfortable with “turn to God” than turn to me? We’ll do the turning. We’ll make the effort. Though we know it’s not of works, somehow we think our effort is gonna help. We’ll make the first move, we’ll oblige God to forgive us, or strengthen us, by turning to Him. But what if we really can’t turn to Him unless He first turns to us?

And really, aren’t we kind of uncomfortable with the thought of a holy, holy, holy God looking on us. What’s He gonna see? Honestly, stuff I’m probably embarrassed for Him to gaze upon. A heart that is frustratingly feeble when it comes to innermost fidelity. Flesh often too weak to do what the spirit wants. Who wants God to look on that? Foolish reasoning, I know. That God is Omniscient, that He is all-knowing, tells me He knows everything about me there is to know — more than I really know about myself. So, asking God to turn to me isn’t so He’ll know me, it’s a recognition that He already does.

Jesus knew the believers at the church in Laodicea. He knew them better than they knew themselves. They thought they were doing pretty good, that they were rich, prosperous, and in need of nothing. But Jesus knew they were lukewarm and He didn’t beat around the bush with His holy assessment of them that, in reality, they were “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:14-17). But Jesus, the Lord of the church, doesn’t turn on them for their tepid attempts to love Him while also trying to love the world — no, Jesus turns to them.

“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. . . Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” ~ Jesus

(Revelation 3:18, 20 ESV)

These messed up Laodiceans weren’t asked to bring gold, or find clothes, or open their eyes. Instead, they were told to open a door. Because Jesus had already turned to them.

He didn’t wait for some meritorious signal on their part, but had already brought the gold, provided the garments, and was ready to apply the salve. Theirs was to avail themselves of it. And not even on a “take out” basis where they needed to go and get it. No, Jesus was ready to deliver. All they needed to do was open the door.

Turn to me. Look on me. It might seem like a bold plea, an audacious plea, even a risky plea. But isn’t it really our only plea? Because we need God to “be gracious to me.”

In fact, chew on it a bit, and it really becomes the safest plea because, as the songwriter reminds us, it is just how God desires to interact with those who love His name. We are but asking God to be who God says He is, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6 ESV).

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is Your way with those who love Your name.

By Your grace, Lord. For Your glory.

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