Psalm 27:3-53 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. 4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
When I took a second look at this Psalm 27 passage, it struck me as odd that the Psalmist only asked for one thing. Even if an army was hot on his trail, even if war broke out against him, even though he would find himself in what he called the “day of trouble,” he didn’t ask for the army to be obliterated. He didn’t ask for the war to cease. He didn’t ask for the day of trouble to turn into the day of triumph. He asked to seek the Lord in His temple. He asked to gaze upon, to stare into the face of Jesus. Why? What about seeking God in His temple was appealing to the Psalmist? Evidently there are some benefits to seeking the Lord that outweigh even having a change in our circumstances. Seeking the Lord was more attractive to him than seeking a new opportunity or than seeking freedom from oppression.
I did a word search on “seeking the Lord” and I want to share with you some of my findings.
Seekers are rewarded. Psalm 34:10 “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”
Seekers of the Lord are under His care. They are under the care of the Shepherd. It was the Psalmist who said, “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.” Those who seek the Lord lack nothing that will be for their benefit.
Matthew 7:7-“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find. There is nothing more frustrating than seeking or searching for something and not finding it. Thom can get pretty creative in a game of family hide and seek. It seems like forever sometimes when we’re looking for him. We get restless. The search seems fun at the time, but twenty minutes later it’s just annoying. We start asking for him to make a noise to give us a hint about where he is. Seeking without finding isn’t very much fun.
The Lord promises, however, that we’ll find Him when we seek Him. There is a reward. There is success for those who seek the Lord. The second part of Hebrews 11:6 says, “God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
This truth was proven in Uzziah’s life. He was only 16 when he became the king of Judah. II Chron. 26:5 says, “And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.”
Uzziah became one of the most successful and powerful kings in Judah’s history. He reigned for 52 long years, the longest of the 8 good kings in the Southern Kingdom.
Uzziah took the initiative to seek God. The word “sought” appears twice in verse 5 of II Chron. 26. He was conscious of his weakness and his inability to rule Judah rightly in his own strength. This humble recognition of need was the key to his success. He knew he needed God’s help. And the Lord kept His part of the promise. He will reward those who seek Him.
Uzziah had unparalleled success – He was able to overcome his enemies. Even the powerful Ammonites came to pay tribute. His fame spread as far as Egypt. He was the first biblical king to be credited as “very powerful.”
-He had exceptional wisdom – (See 2 Chron 26:9-15).
-He built towers at strategic locations to keep watch against attacks, and fortified the walls.
-He dug cisterns to provide water for the livestock, and cultivated the fertile lands.
-He trained his army and organized them into divisions (battalions).
-In Israel’s history, only his army was described as “a powerful force” (26:13)
Yet the Bible did not compliment him or tell us how good or wise he was. In fact, the Bible wanted to stress one point – just in case we missed the point it simply was that God helped him. (26:5) “God gave him success.” (26:7) “God helped him.” (26:15) “For he was greatly helped.”
No wonder he was rich. “He had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain” (v.10), and many fertile lands. No wonder he was so successful. His fame traveled all the way to Egypt.
But WHY? Why did God bless him so much? HE SOUGHT THE LORD, and as long as he sought the Lord, he had success.
It would be nice if the story ended here, but the Bible is an honest book. Verse 16 is a sad verse. (2 Chron 26:16-23). It indicates that one day he stopped seeking the Lord. Uzziah’s life took a sudden dive. Until that point, however, God rewarded his seeking.
When we are serious about finding something, we’ll stay up late, make sacrifices, change our plans, etc. We’ll even do crazy things when we are serious about seeking for and finding something. I remember the day I decided I would seek for a husband. I was 27 years old and up until that time, I hadn’t pictured myself as a married person, but something clicked in me and I thought it was something I wanted to pursue. You talk about a seeker? I didn’t say a “stalker.” I said, a “seeker.” I learned where every Christian singles group in Cincinnati met. I went to every Christian concert I could get a ticket for. I even signed up for an online dating service, and after I had entered my information and okayed it for publication, I found out that instead of listing “music and shopping as hobbies,” I had accidently listed “music and shipping” as my hobbies. I just knew a UPS man would be on my doorstep with flowers. J We do creative and sometimes desperate things when we are seeking, truly seeking to find something.
We’re all seekers in one way or another. People seek status through career, social connections or the acquisition of money. Many seek pleasure through thrill seeking, entertainment or physical pleasure. People seek peace through escapism via drugs and alcohol or by retreating into isolation or fantasy. The trouble with seeking those things is that the reward is like a mist. It doesn’t last. The reward the Lord gives, however, is secure for eternity.
How should we go about seeking Him?
Seek With Your Whole Heart
Jer. 29:13-“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
There is a requirement for seeking the Lord which involves a total commitment of our heart. As I was thinking and praying about this message, God spoke to me about the passion and intimacy involved in our relationship with Him.
Seeking God is about a single-minded, exclusive effort. That sounds kind of demanding, right? Is God so needy? Is that why we read He’s a “jealous God” in Exodus 20 and in several places in the Old Testament?
Obviously God isn’t lacking in His commitment to each of us. He has given the blood of His Son to save us. He never takes His eye off of us. He hears us every time we pray. He forgives us every time we ask. He is intimately acquainted with the minute by minute pieces of our life. Why does He ask for a total heart commitment from us?
God isn’t needy in the sense that He counts on something from us in order to validate Him or for us to add anything to who He is. His concern is always for us-that we have the best life possible and that we become the best people possible with His help. Singleness of heart is for our benefit.
God knows when we are consumed with pursuing Him, we won’t be “taken” by other pursuits which will destroy us. There is a benefit to an exclusive relationship with Christ to a total heart commitment that we won’t receive if we are divided in our pursuits.
Where would Thom and I be in our relationship if when he asked me to marry him I responded, “Yes, and I love you with 40% of my heart?” How could our relationship be supreme? It is the total commitment in our relationship which gives us stability, and everything else in our lives flows from that commitment. Our kids have security because they know we love each other. We are moving through life together with a common purpose. It is our partnership which is enabling certain pursuits in our personal lives and in our ministry together. It’s because we are fully, 100% committed to each other which has made possible all of the good things that are happening in our life. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. That’s why the Psalmist says:
Psalm 86:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me.”
The Psalmist recognizes how beneficial it is for him to have His whole heart invested in following the Lord. It is not only his prayer and his desire, but it becomes his passion as he expresses it in Psalm 63:1-3.
Psalm 63 1O God, you are my God, EARNESTLY I SEEK YOU; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
The Psalmist had obviously had an experience with the Lord where his whole heart had been invested. Do you hear the passion in his words? Earnestly I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you. His heart was focused on seeking the Lord on being with the Lord and on experiencing the love of the Lord.
A whole-heart relationship with Jesus is going to be passionate. It’s going to be intimate. It’s going to be emotional. We’re told in Col. 1:3-4 “Set your affection on things above.” A total heart commitment towards Jesus involves body, mind and spirit.
Seek by Faith
Faith is the driving force that will keep us seeking the Lord, enabling us to never give up! Faith is essential to our seeking. Hebrews 11:6 says, “6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Faith is so critical because it isn’t based on our feelings. Our feelings, our affections can easily get misplaced from time to time, so our faith is essential as it serves as an anchor to keep our heart coming back to our relationship with Christ.
It is my faith in Thom that allows me to trust Him. What kind of quality exists in a relationship that doesn’t have trust? We grow as a couple every time we trust each other and find that we can. Our love grows. Our security grows. Good things come to both of us as a result of expressing faith in one another.
God says there is a reward for those who seek Him. If we believe that, we will respond to His call to seek Him. Seeking itself is an act of faith. Apathy and disobedience are acts of unbelief. One way we demonstrate our faith is through prayer which leads me to another way of seeking the Lord.
Seek Him in Prayer
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Miracles come to people who seek the Lord in prayer.
In 1857 there was a 46 year old man named Jeremiah Lamphere who lived in New York City. Jeremiah loved the Lord tremendously, but he didn’t feel that he could do much for the Lord until he began to feel a burden for the lost and accepted an invitation from his church to be an inner city missionary. So in July of 1857 he started walking up and down the streets of New York passing out tracts and talking to people about Jesus, but he wasn’t having any success.
Then God put it on his heart to try prayer. So he printed up a bunch of tracts, and he passed them out to anyone and everyone met. He invited anyone who wanted to, to come to the 3rd floor of the Old North Dutch Reform Church on Fulton St. in New York City from 12 to 1 on Wednesday to pray. He passed out hundreds and hundreds of fliers and put up posters everywhere he could. Wednesday day came and at Noon nobody showed up.
So Jeremiah got on his knees and started praying. For 30 minutes he prayed by himself when finally five other people walked in. The next week 20 people came. The next week between 30 and 40 people came. They then decided to meet every day from 12:00 to 1:00 to pray for the city. Before long a few ministers started coming and they said, “We need to start this at our churches.” Within six months there were over 5000 prayer groups meeting everyday in N.Y. Soon the word spread all over the country.
Prayer meetings were started in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington D.C. In fact President Franklin Pierce started going almost every day to a noonday prayer meeting. By 1859 some 15,000 cities in America were having downtown prayer meetings everyday at noon and thousands were brought to Christ. The great thing about this revival is that there is not a famous preacher associated with it. It was all started by one man wanting to pray.
You don’t have revival by seeking revival, but by seeking God. God says if you will pray and seek His face, He will act and do the miraculous.
Seek Him in His Word
When we dated, Thom wrote me a lot of romantic letters. He’d tell me how he felt about me, how deep his love was for me. He’d dream on paper about what our futures would look like. He would express his commitment to me, telling me I was the only woman for him, and he would talk about how he wanted to be with me forever.
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It tells us how He feels about us, what He hopes for us, what He can offer us to make our lives abundant ones. God’s heart for you is poured out in the pages of Scripture. Seek Him there, and you will find Him. His Spirit will romance you and convince you of His everlasting love and ongoing commitment to you.
Psalm 19 tells us that God’s Word is perfect. God shows us there how to raise our children, how to make our marriages succeed, how to care for our bodies, and how to handle difficult people and circumstances. He even prepares us to face death by telling us how to receive forgiveness for our sins so that we can have eternal life.
Several places in the gospels when Jesus was confronted by people who had a problem in life and weren’t sure how God would want them to handle it, He would start by asking them, “Have you not read. . . ?” God reveals His plan for the best way to handle life and death in His Word if we are really to seek Him there.
I guess the question we have to answer today is simply, “Is it worth seeking Him?” Is it worth time in His Word? Is it worth time spent in prayer? Is it worth the investment of our affections? Is it worth putting our faith in Someone we can’t even see? Is it worth the priority of our hearts? I mean, who wants to go through the trouble of searching and all the effort it takes if what is obtained in the end is worth it or even exists at all?
I’ll tell you without reservation that seeking Christ through the avenues I’ve described has been worth every moment of study and worth every conversation in prayer. It’s been worth saying “no” to other things that would compete for my affection that are tools of Satan to eventually pull me away from the awesome love of my Heavenly Father.
Singer/songwriter Kari Jobe got it right in her song which says:
The more I seek you,
the more I find you.
The more I find you,
the more I love you
I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat
This love is so deep,
it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming
Matthew 13:44 says “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure,” and the man who finds it will do anything to possess it. How earnestly are we seeking to be in relationship with the King of this kingdom?
Motherhood comes with a lot of questions. Often I hear, “Mom, I can’t find my favorite shirt” or “Mom, I can’t find my backpack,” or “Mom, I can’t find my other shoe.” All of the moms in the house can guess my reply or probably say it out loud with me. I usually say, “Did you look?”
A growing relationship with Jesus requires some seeking. It’s not something we acquire simply because we are part of a church. It’s not something that can be handed down from a grandparent to a grandchild or from a parent to a child. It is our own personal pursuit.
God and I hang out so much that I believe He is involved in even the little details of my life. I started wearing Red Door perfume, something that’s a bit pricy, about ten years ago. I suppose people have become aware that it’s my perfume of choice and when birthdays or special occasions arise, I often open a bottle. I hardly think I have had to purchase a bottle in the last eight years because it always seems to be supplied. I had to laugh one day about a year ago when Jaunita Creech came up to me in the church lobby and said, “I was going through some things and found this perfume. I just thought of you.” It was, of course, a brand new bottle of “Red Door” perfume, something she didn’t even know I wore.
A few months ago, I found myself lamenting that I had run out of my perfume. I hated to spend the money to buy it, especially since I had been through an eight year run where I had watched God supply it for me. But, I went out and bought a bottle.
A few months later, I was cleaning out a cabinet and there was a brand new bottle of “Red Door” perfume. It had been there all along. I just never looked for it. I never sought to find it. I went into self provision mode and went to buy some for myself.
I believe what I experienced with my perfume is perhaps an illustration for what is happening in many lives and hearts. Rather than searching for God, rather than seeking the kind of peace and contentment that comes from a whole-hearted relationship with Him, we just run out and try to fill our lives with a self provided substitute. Maybe we think it’s easier to run out and buy a quick fix than it is to seek, to search, to invest our passion, and to express faith by cultivating our prayer life and by spending time in God’s Word. Instead of seeking the God who is there, waiting to be found, we try to provide for our own needs.
Matthew 6:33-But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When we seek and find God, we will have everything we need. Part of the joy in finding something valuable comes as a result of searching for it diligently.
“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”
Are you there? Would you make the same choice? If you could only choose to do one thing for the next 24 hours, would it be to seek the Lord? Perhaps you haven’t found Him yet. Maybe you haven’t experienced the contentment and joy of being in a relationship with Christ. Or maybe you have and you realize today that your heart is divided, that your prayer life is weak, that your faith isn’t being expressed or evidenced in your life and that you aren’t making time for God to reveal Himself to you through His Word. Today can become a day of seeking that will lead to great discovery in your life.