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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Must We Seek God

Should a person seek God?  Many men and women believe there is a supreme being we call God and yet they feel no need to seek God.  With them God is God; he is just and good and is love so he will save them as long as they live what they consider to be a reasonably good life.  They do not concern themselves with reading or studying the Bible, with worship, or obedience to God's specific commandments.  They go through life on auto-pilot as far as God is concerned.

Whether they realize it or not this approach to salvation is an attempt to be saved by the works of man--it is an attempt to work your way to heaven based on personal goodness, a self-defined goodness.  It reminds one of Rom. 10:3, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." (NKJV)  It attempts to make God conform to man's judgments rather than man conform to God's judgments.  Man ends up judging God rather than God judging man.  God, if you are really good you will save me is the idea.    

The reality is it does not work that way.  Man does not get to pass judgment on God nor bully God into saving him.  "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,' says the Lord.  'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" (Isa. 55:8-9 NKJV)  God will remain God and you and I will remain flesh and blood, just human beings who are here for a short while on earth and then pass on into eternity over which God rules.

What does the Bible have to say about seeking God?  It condemns those who fail to do so.  Paul says, "For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.  As it is written:  'There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.  They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.'" (Rom. 3:9-12 NKJV)  Did you note there is none who seeks after God in this passage and they are all in sin; there are none who do good, not by God’s standard? 

David in Psalms 10:4 said, "The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts." (NKJV)  I take David's statement where he says "God is in none of his thoughts" to mean that such a man never considers God in anything he does.  God is in none of his plans, is never considered in the man's decision-making, etc.  We find such a man described by Jesus in the New Testament in the parable of the rich man whose ground yielded such a plentiful crop that he knew not what to do with it all as described in Luke 12:16-21.

This man decided to tear his old barns down, build bigger ones to store the crop, and then "eat, drink, and be merry." (Luke 12:19 NKJV)  God called him a fool (verse 20) and said his soul would be required of him that very night.  Jesus finished the parable by saying, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:21 NKJV)  This man had excluded thoughts of God from his life.   That man has relatives alive on earth today.

There are only two classes of men--those who seek God and those who do not.  All mankind fits into one classification or another.  In the Psalm quoted above, David said that the wicked does not seek God.  That necessarily means if a man is not a seeker after God it puts him into the only other category that exists, that of the wicked who do not seek God.  If God is "a rewarder of those who diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6 NKJV) what then becomes of the man who does not seek God at all? 

Jesus sought God his father for he said, "I do not seek my own will but the will of the father who sent me." (John 5:30 NKJV)  This was the opposite of the rich man who tore his barns down to build bigger to hold his crop without seeking God's will in his life.  One cannot seek God's will without seeking God.

It is God's will for a man that man seeks him, all of mankind.  James made that clear in reference to the Gentiles by quoting the words of the prophets in Acts 15:15-17, "And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:  'After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down.  I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord who does all these things.'" (NKJV)  We now live in that dispensation of time when all men may seek the Lord it being God's will that they do so.

A little later in Acts 17 Paul speaks of God as having made of one blood all men "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:27 NKJV)  Why should we seek him?  Paul says in the next verse, "For we are also his offspring." (Acts 17:28 NKJV)  God is truly a person's father whether all are willing to recognize him as that or not.  A man ought to seek his father had he not?  (Yes, the devil can become one's father, John 8:44, but we enter the world as God's offspring.  The devil did not bring us into the world.)

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalms 53:1 NKJV)  God is looking, “God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” (Psalm 53:2 NKJV)  Want to know what a fool does not do?  A fool does not seek God. 

In the normal course of a week, you and I will meet up with any number of people who are totally indifferent to God.  They are not seeking God in any way, by any measurement.  They are not necessarily all unbelievers but they are at best indifferent toward God and are not seeking him.  They may be good men and women as the world measures such things but the God who runs their life is the God of self.  The one who makes the rules by which they live and by which they determine what is right from what is wrong is themselves.  They set the rules for their life, not God.

Remember earlier when I quoted Paul from Acts 17 concerning seeking God?  I said that the reason was that we are God's offspring (Acts 17:28) and that a man ought to seek his father, but this section of scripture also gives another reason.  What?  God is going to "judge the world in righteousness." (Acts 17:31 NKJV)  Men must therefore repent. (Acts 17:30)  The man who is unwilling to seek God will never repent, and will thus be condemned.  Repentance is not just being sorry for a wrong done but forsaking it and turning to God.

The Bible teaches us to seek in order to find (Matt. 7:7-8).  One will never find God without looking for him.  True, many believe they know God who have not sought him.  What a man thinks he knows and what he knows are often two different things.  How can you know God when you never read nor study his word, when you don't even know what he has said?

Who is the man God commends?  Jehu said, speaking of King Jehoshaphat of Judah on God's behalf, "Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God." (2 Chron. 19:3 NKJV)  King Jehoshaphat was commended for having prepared his heart to do what?  To seek God.  God commends such a man. 

Can a man find God if he seeks him?  He can if he seeks with all his heart.  Jeremiah, in writing to the Jewish captives in Babylon, said, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel … And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:4, 13 NKJV)  David commanded the people to "set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God." (1 Chron. 22:19 NKJV)  God is not a God that is hard to find or a God that does not want to be found but he does seek people who truly desire to know him.  

Jesus came into the world seeking us.  "For the son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10 NKJV)  God calls all men by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14).  He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  He desires that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4).  God is not hiding or making himself hard to find if we really desire to find him.  We will find him if we want to.  However, a person who is half-heartedly seeking God is a person who in reality does not really want to find God.

Why would a man not want to find God or only half-heartedly seek him?  The answer is quite simple.  By its very nature, the God-man relationship must be one where man must submit to God.  Submission is the roadblock for those determined to be their own decision-makers and be their own boss.     

Here is a description of the kind of personality who will find God.  "O God, you are my God; early will I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you." (Psalms 63:1 NKJV)  When we long for God with all our being we will seek diligently and in seeking we shall find (God's promise--Matt. 7:7-8) and in finding we shall be blessed. 

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