Seek God’s Face
Our church just adopted a Vision Statement that says one of our main goals is to Seek God through Worship. That’s not because God is lost. It isn’t because He is hiding from us. It’s because God has told us that we should seek Him, and that if we do seek Him, we will find Him. You see, it’s more about us striving with all of our hearts, and then God rewards us with His presence. My dad always told me that anything worth having is worth working for. Too often, when things come easy, we don’t appreciate the results. Now I don’t want you to misunderstand me. Finding God isn’t hard work; we just have to want to find Him with everything that we are. He tells us in Jeremiah 33:3 that if we call to Him, He will answer and show us great things. Jesus said, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Nothing could be easier than calling on God, but we need to understand one important point. When we call on Him, we have to mean it. It must come from the depths of our being. We can’t be playing around with Him and expect Him to reveal Himself to us. That’s why God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we want to experience revival that we must “seek His face.”
The word is “baqash.” It means to seek, strive, require, or desire. It is a form of prayer called a petition. But it isn’t an ordinary petition. God, I need some money. God, I need a car. God I need a job. This is an earnest seeking of something or someone that exists that we desperately want to find. It’s always interesting to look at how words are used in other verses. In Deuteronomy 4:29, “baqash” describes God binding His people to love and serve Him as the first principle of their living. In Exodus 10:11, the word is used when Pharaoh says that the people of Israel can go “worship” their God. In other verses, it is a requirement that God places on His people, that in order to honor the covenant, they must seek Him where and how He demands.
So this is the key: God demands that we seek Him wholeheartedly. Too many times, God condemned Israel for their pretense and going through the motions. They did not come after Him with pure hands or clean hearts. They wanted to find Him on their terms, and while the old hymn says, “Just as I am,” and while God will take us from where we are to where we need to be, we must have a desire to change. We must have a willingness to become what He demands. In fact, one of the final definitions of “baqash” has to do with a subject coming before a king to make a specific request. Can you imagine what would happen if you came to the king to ask for the most important thing in your life, and you didn’t even bother to bathe? Or to change your clothes? Or to comb your hair? Can you imagine pushing open the doors to the king’s chambers and brashly marching up to him and demanding in your unkempt condition that he supply your desire? To quote a rather famous fictional monarch, the simple reply would be: “Off with his head!” When you come to a king, you come on his terms. When we seek God, we must do so with all our hearts.
But have you ever wondered why He tells us to seek His face? It is because when God’s face is turned in our direction, it indicates His favor. When something pleases us, we tend to gaze upon it. If it is disgusting or if we are in conflict with someone, we tend to look away. The Bible tells us that God cannot look upon sin. That doesn’t mean that He doesn’t see our sin. It means that He turns His face away because it disgusts Him. It displeases Him. So understand this: to seek God’s face is to seek His favor. How do we seek His favor? It is as the psalmist says, “A broken and contrite heart, Oh God, You will not despise.”