The Search: Responding to the Invitation
“When He struck them, they turned to Him and sought God once again (Psalms 78:34).” Here, the psalmist addresses the question why the people’s repentance and their willingness to die battling for the Land of Israel (Numbers 14:40) was not acceptable. The people should first have humbled themselves and confessed their sin, and only afterward ascended the mountain. Their sudden courage did not stem from feelings of remorse, but from God’s decree to let them live to become 60 years old without ever entering the Land of Israel.
Had God decreed that they would immediately die, they would no doubt, have sought Him out, and pleaded with Him, and expressed sentiments of remorse, confession etc. Because God granted them such an extended period of time before their punishment would be carried out, they underestimated the severity of their sin.(Alshich; Romemot El)
When we seek God it is essential that we understand from where we begin our seeking. The nation that was sentenced to die out in the desert did not fully understand the severity of their sin. Therefore, when they began to seek God they did not fully understand from where there seeking began.
“Seek God while He may be found,” means that the seeking of Elul need not begin with that level of clarity, meaning from where we begin our seeking, but that we understand that this seeking is in response to God making Himself available to us. It is not a seeking that begins in us; but in response to an invitation from God.
Approach Elul as a response to God’s invitation. Rather than focus on our mistakes and sins and how distant we are from God, we need only pay attention to God’s calling us to Him.