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What Does It Mean to Seek the Lord?

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What Does It Mean to Seek the Lord? Meditation on Psalm 105:4

August 19, 2009 | by John Piper | Scripture: Psalms 105:4 | Topic: Hope

Seeking the Lord means seeking his presence. “Presence” is a common translation of the Hebrew word “face.” Literally, we are to seek his “face.” But this is the Hebraic way of having access to God. To be before his face is to be in his presence.
But aren't his children always in his presence? Yes and no. Yes in two senses: First, in the sense that God is omnipresent and therefore always near everything and everyone. He holds everything in being. His power is ever-present in sustaining and governing all things.
And second, yes, he is always present with his children in the sense of his covenant commitment to always stand by us and work for us and turn everything for our good. “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
But there is a sense in which God’s presence is not with us always. For this reason, the Bible repeatedly calls us to “seek the his presence continually.” God’s manifest, conscious, trusted presence is not our constant experience. There are seasons when we become neglectful of the Lord and give him no thought and do not put trust in him and we find him “unmanifested”—that is, unperceived as great and beautiful and valuable by the eyes of our hearts.
His face—the brightness of his personal character—is hidden behind the curtain of our carnal desires. This condition is always ready to overtake us. That is why we are told to “seek his presence continually.” God calls us to enjoy continual consciousness of his supreme greatness and beauty and worth.
This happens through “seeking.” Continual seeking. But what does that mean practically? Both the Old and New Testaments say it is a “setting of the mind and heart” on God. It is the conscious fixing or focusing of our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God.
“Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” (1 Chronicles 22:19)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1–2)
This setting of the mind is the opposite of mental coasting. It is a conscious choice to direct the heart toward God. This is what Paul prays for the church: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). It is a conscious effort on our part. But that effort to seek God is a gift from God.
We do not make this mental and emotional effort to seek God because he is lost. That’s why we would seek a coin or a sheep. But God is not lost. Nevertheless, there is always something through which or around which we must go to meet him consciously. This going through or around is what seeking is. He is often hidden. Veiled. We must go through mediators and around obstacles.
The heavens are telling the glory of God. So we can seek him through that. He reveals himself in his word. So we can seek him through that. He shows himself to us in the evidences of grace in other people. So we can seek him through that. The seeking is the conscious effort to get through the natural means to God himself—to constantly set our minds toward God in all our experiences, to direct our minds and hearts toward him through the means of his revelation. This is what seeking God means.
And there are endless obstacles that we must get around in order to see him clearly, and so that we can be in the light of his presence. We must flee every spiritually dulling activity. We must run from it and get around it. It is blocking our way.
We know what makes us vitally sensitive to God’s appearances in the world and in the word. And we know what dulls us and blinds us and makes us not even want to seek him. These things we must move away from and go around if we would see God. That is what seeking God involves.
And as we direct our minds and hearts God-ward in all our experiences, we cry out to him. This too is what seeking him means.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
“If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy...” (Job 8:5)
Seeking involves calling and pleading. O Lord, open my eyes. O Lord, pull back the curtain of my own blindness. Lord, have mercy and reveal yourself. I long to see your face.
The great obstacle to seeking the Lord is pride. “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him” (Psalm 10:4). Therefore, humility is essential to seeking the Lord.
The great promise to those who seek the Lord is that he will be found. “If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). And when he is found, there is great reward. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). God himself is our greatest reward. And when we have him, we have everything. Therefore, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Seeking with you,
Pastor John
©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
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Why Seek the Lord – 7 reasons on July 19, 2010


Why should I seek the Lord? Well, besides the promise that those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10), there are a number of other benefits to following God’s command to seek Him (Hosea 10:12).

Much like fearing the Lord, seeking the Lord is of great benefit for us; and like fearing the Lord, we shouldn’t seek the Lord just to get the benefits. Knowing the benefits can motivate us, keep us focused and help us know when we’re on the right track.
Here are seven benefits I can find in Scripture.
1. We’ll fully understand justice Proverbs 28:5 (NIV) “Evil men do not understand justice,

but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.”

2. We don’t need to worry about everything everyone worries about Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

3. God’s ears will be attentive to our prayers 1 Peter 3:12 (NIV) “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
4. We’ll be delivered from our fears Psalm 34:4 (NIV) “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
5. We’ll Live! Amos 5:4 (NIV) “This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel:

“Seek me and live;””

6. We will be strengthened 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”.
7. God will be found 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV) “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”


Why Do I need to Seek God?
Why seek God? Our creator who in his mercy and power created us to be the very best that He has planned for us.
Just a few things before you begin studying for you to study and reflect on. I always pray before I study the word of God, asking for His wisdom and insight and that He will teach and show me the things that He wants me to see, that He will remove the distractions (they will come) and help you to focus on His word. Also think and reflect on the scriptures, ask yourself questions, make it personal.
Jeremiah 29:11-16 God tells us in this passage that He has plans for our lives, we can always rely on God's plans because He loves us. Satan also has a plan for your life. God guarantees you that if you seek Him with all of heart, He will be found by you. What have you sought with all of your heart? Have you sought God with all of your heart?
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

It takes action for us to receive the blessings of God. Ask, knowing that God will answer. Seek, knowing that your search is not in vain. Knock, confident that you will be acknowledged and God will welcome you into His kingdom. But, you have to do something!

Acts 17:24-26 “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

God's plan is that we would seek him, He placed you here now and me so that we would meet, it not coincidence, but part of Gods divine plan.

2 Chronicles 12:14 “he did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” God sees it as evil when we don't seek him. Those who do good and still do not seek God do evil! It is arrogance and pride when we believe we can live without the One who created us.
2 Chronicles 15:12 “They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their Fathers with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.” They took seeking God serious. There were no short cuts or excuses. No one was excluded. We must seek God wholeheartedly and eagerly. God promises that we will find Him. (2 Chronicles 15:12; Jeremiah 29:14).

Why Seek God? Written by Ed Allen Sunday, 14 February 2010 09:00

1. Why should we seek God?

2. Because He’s seeking us

  1. Deuteronomy 7:7 – the Lord chose you because of Himself

  2. Isaiah 62:12 – the name of the people when God restores them: “Sought After”

  3. John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”

3. Because when we seek Him we find Him

  1. Jeremiah 29:13 – “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

  2. Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

  3. Isaiah 6 – this is Isaiah’s experience

    1. Time of national tragedy

    2. Seeking God’s direction or peace or guidance, but what he gets is God Himself

    3. Oswald Chambers “The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”

WHAT DID ISAIAH FIND WHEN HE FOUND GOD? – 5 critical truths about God

  • God is singularly alive – not contingent on anything

  • God is absolutely authoritative

    • Notice He is sitting – never hurried, not worried, not cutting his grass

    • In control – He’s on a throne

    • He has authority over everything whether we like it or not

    • And His throne is high

  • God is resplendently glorious

    • His train filled the temple

  • God is awe-inspiring

    • The heavenly creatures covering up and living to honor Him

  • God is holy

    • If we would know anything about God we have to start by knowing His holiness.

    • Different category

      • Psalm 21 “you thought I was altogether like you.”

      • Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

      • This is what we saw in Jesus (when he calmed the storm).

4. Because when we find Him, He changes us

  1. Verse 5

  2. This is where change begins – we recognize who we really are

  3. My experience with Phil Ford

  4. Recovery begins with recognizing our spiritual poverty.

  5. This is not a diminishing experience. It is a freeing experience.

5. Because He alone can animate our lives with vision and purpose

  1. Real vision begins with recognizing the vision impediments. I couldn’t see well without an optometrist diagnosing my current vision status. This is what an encounter with God does. It shows us who we really are. It gives us a clear picture of reality (verse 5).

  2. But God’s purpose is not to dismantle or diminish us. His purpose is to promote us, to animate our lives. HE SET ISAIAH FREE FROM GUILT. HE FORGAVE HIM.

  3. Then He calls Isaiah to be his prophet!

6. Because it’s worth it.

  1. Isaiah 45:19-25

My chart

Seeking God

Pursuit of sin

Often feels like work

Often feels like relaxing

Requires battling

Often feels natural/easy

Doesn’t usually result in explosive joy

Can result in short burst of pleasure

Involves leaning into my pain

Usually numbs my pain

Yields a background of rest and peace

Yields a background of despair/ weightiness

  • The next morning after working through this chart, I read Psalm 40 in my devotional reading. (Verse 12) “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.” This is always where I end up when I pursue sin – maybe not right away, but always! My heart fails! But when I seek God, I always end up in a place of rest and peace.

  • Then I read Isaiah 50

    • Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant?
      Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.

  • When I seek God, I am guided; I live with a sense of meaning. When I pursue my own way, I end up tormented and despairing.

  • Later that day I read Mark 6 about Jesus walking on the water and then calling Peter to walk on the water – and I realized that when I seek God He animates my life with adventure and purpose.


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