What really is involved in "Seeking God?" Is this something that is done individually, as a family, or corporately as a church, a community, or as a nation? The answer to that question is undoubtedly ... YES! It incorporates all these levels - and as you look at church history - it has started at different times in each of those settings. Sometimes revival seems to begin TOTALLY as a Sovereign pursuit by God to us, however ... it also cannot be denied by any honest church historian, that at times, it was out of the desperation of men's hearts, that God moved in answer to their cries. Oh, I know that ALL OF THAT IS GOD'S IDEA ... for every good and Godly desire we've EVER had, began in the heart of God and was implanted in our hearts by the Spirit of God Who lives within us as believers. So now that we've settled this thing of God's will versus the freewill of man (like that is ever going to be settled this side of eternity LOL), let's move on to OUR responsibility in SEEKING GOD. There are SO many verses and exhortations for us to seek Him, that I cannot quote them all here, you can do your own search with a good commentary, I just want to give you the bottom lines, and then say to YOU ... GO FOR IT! SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART, FOR THE REVIVAL WE SO DESPERATELY NEED.
1) Seek Him first! Let God be our first stop and not your last. How many times do we only draw near to God when we want something? Our motives sometimes in this Christian life are so fleshly and self centered. Mt. 6:33 - Seek you first the kingdom of God ... Zech. 8:21,22 - Let us go SPEEDILY to pray before the Lord, & to seek the Lord of Hosts ... many people & strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts ...
Many of the kings urged and led the people in seeking God - David - I Chr.22:9, Solomon - II Chr. 7:14, Rehoboam - II Chr. 11:6, Asa - II Chr. 14:2,4,7, Jehoshaphat - II Chr.20:3,4, Uzziah - II Chr. 26:5, Hezekiah - II Chr.30:19; 31:20,21, Josiah - II Chr. 34:3.
2) Seek Him early. Oh God, Thou are my God, early will I seek Thee. Psa.63:1. in their affliction, they shall seek Me early - Hos.5:15. Psa. 53:2 - God looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were ANY that DID understand, that DID seek after God ... take a minute to ponder that thought ... the implication is that IF we understood, we WOULD seek. Understood WHAT? The heart of God? The purposes of God in eternity? The desire of God for YOUR life? The depth and richness of God? Whatever is means ... IF WE UNDERSTOOD ... WE WOULD SEEK. I think the essence of what this phrase means - early (quickness, speed, urgency, determination, intention and deliberateness - all in the original meaning) the bottom line is this - I think it means SEEKING GOD out of conviction, rather than out of crisis.
3) Seek THE LORD, not an experience. We are such a feelings oriented society today, especially in our "American christianity." We have almost demanded of God, that He give us a good feeling, an experience. So many of our services are geared toward getting us a "quick fix" so we can go on another day. And what happens if we don't get our "fix," we start to question the integrity & reality of God. If God really "loved me" or if God really "cared for me" He would make me feel better, or meet my financial "needs" or "bless me." Only in America do we equate the blessing of God with money and things! I have often told people, "God would do YOU an injustice if every time you met with HIM, He made you feel good." Then you would begin to relegate your relationship with God to good feelings. Then, your faith would be based upon feelings and experience, rather than faith! Without FAITH it is impossible to please Him ... the just shall live by FAITH ... now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN. He that comes to God must BELIEVE that He is, not feel that He is.
- Experience must flow out of relationship, and not vice-versa. Rom.5:3-5
- Experience must always be subject to the Word of GOD. Heb. 4:12 (Today, people are throwing off doctrine for that sake of their experience - "I don't care if it's Biblical or not ... I know what I experienced!") That is very dangerous! I actually saw a t.v. preacher tell about his experience to an audience, then mockingly say to them, "so you ask me, where is that in here" (mockingly holding up his Bible), then continue by saying, "it ain't in there" as he took his Bible and threw it across the stage! What did the crowd do? Did they rebuke him, did they walk out, did they in shock gasp at his actions? No ... they applauded and went right along with his blasphemous actions! How sad, how grievous! We, as fleshly, casual, CARNAL (at best, if saved at all) as American believers are going to have a lot to account for in judgment!
- Experience must not become the standard of comparison for others. II Cor. 10:12 (some "push" their experience on others, and even whether or not that person is "spiritual" on whether or not they've had the same experience you've had)
- Experience must never be raised to the level of inspiration. II Tim.3:16; Heb.1:1,2; II Pet.1:16-21 Some today in America have elevated to their experience to the level of inspiration - "you may not find it in the Bible, but I know what I experienced ... and you cant tell me it was not 'of God' "
- Experience must validate itself through visible change in one's life. II Cor. 4:2; 6:3,4
- Experience must be open to challenge and Godly counsel. Acts 11 (even though Peter had encountered God on the rooftop while God was opening the gospel to the Gentiles - when he went to give account to the brothers in Jerusalem - it was validated through proper channels -there was prayer, a vision, a voice, it was confirmed three times, the Spirit commanded, it was witnessed by these 6 men, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as on us at the beginning, then I remembered the Word of the Lord. All things were done decently and in order.
- Experience must not become a determiner of doctrine. Eph.4:13-15 - grow up and stop being children swayed by every wind of doctrine!
4) Seek Him in the Word of God. This one should be obvious, but many times today, people will seek everywhere it seems BEFORE they get into the Word. Do you want to SEE Jesus ... do you want to KNOW Jesus? Then get into the Book!
5) Seek Him wholeheartedly!
- Herein is the promise of finding Him : You shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer.29:13; Psa. 119:2; Deut. 4:29; II Chr. 15:5
- Herein is the place of rejoicing: Let all those that seek Thee, rejoice and be glad in Thee... Psa. 40:16; Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord ... Psa. 105:34
6) Seek His face, not His hand! The scriptures are filled with word pictures that help us in "seeing" God, as He is. Those pictures many times relate to different parts of our body, as human beings, in essence to reveal to us different traits within the nature of God. The theologians call these anthropomorphisms - that is the attributing of human characteristics to "non - humans" (which of course certainly fits God). We are told in scripture to seek His face for revival - II Chr. 7:14. Too many times we seek His hand instead. We use God in essence as our Santa Claus ... gimme' ... gimme' ... gimme'! We want power, we want provision for our earthly needs ... but we do we really want His face to be known? His face is synonymous with His favor, His pleasure, His smile. Psa. 105:4 - Seek His face evermore.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. I Pet.3:12
Do we really want the favor of God? His face is inherently tied together in scripture with fearing God and righteous living. Hos. 10:12; Mt. 6:33; Zeph.2:3; Isa. 51:1; II Chr. 7:14 - seek My face and TURN from their wicked ways.
7) Seek Him continually. Seek the Lord, and His strength, seek His face continually. I Chr. 16:11. Seek His face evermore Psa. 105:4
Will you set your face to seek the Lord? What if revival never comes in your lifetime? Will you still continue throughout the rest of your life to seek Him in behalf of our nation ... in behalf of His kingdom. Do you remember where God said, I looked and wondered that there were no intercessors! Isa. 59:15,16; 63:5 Will you "follow hard after God" Psa. 63:8
Do you remember where God says, Seek ye the Lord WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, call ye upon HIM, WHILE HE IS NEAR! The implications of this verse are astounding. There seem to be certain times when God is "near." Oh, don't let your theological mindset ignore or deny this truth. There are certain times when God draws near and draws near the hearts of those who are seeking Him. Oh, dear people, DO NOT MISS THIS! Even Jesus, while walking on this earth was looking for earnest seekers, those who would not give up on seeking and searching (Jn.4:23 - the Father seeks such to worship Him) ... those who were great in faith to pursue Him until their prayers were heard and their need was met. In Mt. 15 & Mark 7, Jesus leaves the Sea of Galilee area in order to go to the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, a roundtrip of somewere between 70-100 miles. There he meets a woman, a Greek, a Syrophenician whose daughter was demon possessed. She begs him to heal her daughter, he ignores her (answered her not a word), his disciples ask him to send her away, and even when she begins her plea he compares her to "a dog," and yet she worships at His feet, reasons with Him, and he grants her request, and states, "Oh woman, great is your faith!" Are you "okay" with this? Does your view of a "kind. loving, gentle Jesus" allow for Him appearing to ignore and deny this womans initial need? Please don't miss this ... He was wanting to find out if she would follow hard after God! She did ... and her need was met. From the text of Matthew and Mark, it appears that this was the only "project" Jesus took care of while in the coastal region of Tyre & Sidon - he then returns to the Sea of Galilee. I am convinced He went that 100+ miles specifically to meet this woman and daughter's need ... but it would only happen if she diligently sought Him. The same for blind Bartimaeus - had he listened to the crowd instead of continuing to cry out to Jesus, he would still be blind. I think Jesus heard him the first time he cried out, I believe He was waiting to see if Bartimaeus would listen to the crowd or get to God! Would he "follow HARD after God."
What will you do with this truth? Will YOU follow hard after God. Will you seek Him with ALL YOUR HEART? IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD, TILL HE COMES AND REIGNS RIGHTEOUSNESS UPON US! Hos. 10:12