“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” (Isaiah 54:7)
God is everywhere, but he is in some places more than most. This doesn’t really make much sense and that’s because our finite minds cannot fully understand or explain the Infinite God. Somehow, “more” of God’s presence was in the tabernacle and this scripture speaks to “less” of God’s presence.
So while God is everywhere–there are no gaps in his understanding or attention or power–God does “pull back” and abandon people.
We don’t know how this works, but we do know why God abandons people (in this case, Israel). It’s actually quite simple and unsurprising: God abandons people who are disobedient, those who reject him and his ways.
Another question pops up: How much rejecting does a person need to do before he experiences abandonment from God? I think this is a bad question…or at least the wrong question. This is like asking, “How far can I flirt before I’ve cheated on my spouse?” Scripture doesn’t give us a solid line that fits every person and every situation.
Instead, let us then concern ourselves with absolute obedience and devotion. This will drive us closer to God which is better than wondering how far we can wander from him.
When we fall short, failing enough to be abandoned by God, there is hope. We can trust that we have been abandoned by a God who has deep compassion. He will bring us back. Israel returned home from captivity. Nineveh’s repentance averted destruction. Peter was reinstated. Paul was confronted and called to apostleship.
Let us take hope when we are abandoned by the God of deep compassion, for he will bring us back after a brief moment.