Summary: Seeking God begins with attitude, not activity. Seek Him with reckless abandon in all things.
An ancient Chassidic parable tells the story of Yechiel, the young grandson of a Chassidic rabbi, who once played hide-and-seek with a friend. When it was his turn to hide, he found a great hiding place where he waited, somewhat impatiently, for his friend to find him.
He waited and waited; it seemed like hours—but his friend never came. In fact, his friend had never even started looking for him. He'd left the little boy and gone home.
With tears streaming down his face, Yechiel ran to his grandfather and told him what had happened. Deeply moved by the hurt of his grandson, the rabbi also broke into tears saying, "God says the same thing: 'I hide, but no one tries to find me.'"
1. I hide, but no one tries to find me. When you hear that statement, you probably think, “God makes himself available to everybody, He doesn’t hide!” Your problem (mine, too), is that you think like a 21st century Gentile…
2. In ancient Jewish thought, God reveals himself only to those who seek him: in particular priests, prophets and others God specifically calls. They believe God hides himself from pagan nations because he does not wish to reveal himself to them.
3. Consequently, the Jews focus much of their theology on seeking God’s face (some believe this phrase is a reference to his “hiding”). Our goal is not to adopt their belief, but to understand it, and gain a new appreciation for Jewish thought as it relates to OT writings.
1. In this passage the Chronicler records David’s plans for the building of the temple of the Lord, and his final instructions to his son Solomon.
2. David concedes that he will not build the temple for YAHWEH his God, despite his deep desire to do so (v.2). If you’ve experienced the loss of a dream, you understand David’s disappointment. He masks his regret (like us) with some positive self-affirmation (4-7):
A. YAHWEH, the God of Israel chose me to be king; first Judah, then my family, then me!
B. Among my sons, he has chosen Solomon to be king of the kingdom of the Lord.
C. Solomon, my son, will build the temple; he will be the LORD’s son
D. His kingdom will last forever if he is uncompromising in carrying out the law of God.
3. David’s self-affirmation is not pride, but duty to bless the LORD. Israel’s understanding is that God showers goodness on them, and they respond in praise, worship, submission and obedience.
4. Following his challenge to the children of Israel (v8) to live in strict obedience to the laws and commandments of YAHWEH, he turns to Solomon in a beautifully passionate moment, and gives him this emotional instruction (v9):
A. And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
B. NIV acknowledge is unfortunate—should probably be translated know. Also, heart is not the organ or emotion, but inner midst of the will—the center of conscious decision (cf. mind, brain)
So, how do I seek God and know God, and are they related? The common answer is “read the Bible and pray.” Sound advice, but we need clearer direction than that to be effective.
[Seeking God begins with attitude, not activity. Seek Him with reckless abandon in all things.]
III. SEEKING GOD
1. Jesus taught that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. With that in mind, seeking God may follow this pattern.
A. Seek with your heart. Refers to the inner midst of the will—the center of conscious decision. Seeking God begins with attitude, not activity. Seek His will passionately in everything.
i. Drawing closer to God requires a change of attitude toward the things of God.
ii. This may involve changes in lifestyle, priorities and schedule; don’t say I didn’t warn you!
B. Seek with your soul. Goals require absolute committment. An hour here and there when it fits won’t do; dedicate your life, seeking God first in all things.
i. The goal here is intimacy. In order to get it, you must give it.
ii. Prayer is the secret to seeking with your soul; tell God your desire—be specific, intentional.
C. Seek with your mind. The study of scripture requires—wait for it—STUDY. I encourage you to invest in your relationship with God.
i. Get involved in a serious study group, something beyond a social gathering