Summary: This is the first in a series of messages on the Attributes of God focusing on first setting our heart to seek Him.
Knowing God Series #1
“Set Your Heart to Seek the Lord”
Early education in America once considered knowing God the chief pursuit of education.
One early college declared, “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” Their dual motto was “For the glory of Christ and “For Christ and the Church” What college was this? Harvard was founded by the Reverend John Harvard in the 1600’s. Their original seal had the word “Truth” for Christ, for the Church”. Today’s seal contains only “Veritas” (Truth). The fact is, nearly every one of the first 123 colleges and universities that sprung up in the colonies did so to train ministers; including Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Brown, Princeton, and Dartmouth which was established to train missionaries to the Indians. Columbia University (King’s College) established in 1754 advertised its chief aim to teach and engage children to know God in Jesus Christ.” These all considered Theology Proper, the theological label given to this study, as the queen of all courses of study.” I refer to these only to show the importance of the pursuit of the knowledge of God held far back as our early beginnings as a nation.
Of course, my desire is not to just increase information concerning God but to actually come to know Him better through a deeper study of His revelation concerning Himself. We learned awhile back that the “fear of the Lord” effectively dispels all other fears along with a multitude of other blessings. Proverbs clearly declares that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
We find the importance of knowing and seeking God all through the Bible. Jesus Himself affirmed in His prayer to the Father that, “This is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” How many really know God? How can the finite know the infinite? How can the mortal hope to enjoy relationship with the Immortal?
How can flesh and blood interact with the Eternal Spirit? How can limited intellect comprehend the incomprehensible? Yet knowing God is the key to eternal life. True fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Scripture explicitly invites us to experience God.
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want. Psalm 34:8-9 (NASB)
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NASB)
And 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 seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 (NASB)
God evaluated many of the people in the Old Testament by this phrase: “And they set their heart to seek the Lord.” To seek is to pursue, to give attention, draw near, cling, long for, thirst, desire to know. The intensity of our pursuit depends on several factors.
1 -- Our ability to search.
2 – Our sense of need for the thing sought.
3 – The value we have assigned to the thing sought
When it comes to God, we were designed to relate to him on a personal level and He longs for us to seek intimate fellowship with Him as a person. Somewhere along the line we have become trapped in the eddy of our culture. We live in a culture that has lost their capacity to seek God. Pursuit of the one true God has been devalued in the wake of pursuit of our inner self, the god within and aliens from outside our experience. And, like the church of Laodicea, even true believers have lost a deep sense of continual need for Christ. We have our own ways of reversing the curse. Programs, technology, education etc. We do not seek Him because we don’t really sense any need or urgency to seek Him. Even our evangelism methods perpetuate a “life insurance” kind of mentality. Not, do you want to experience restored dynamic relationship with the God of the universe? But do you want eternal life? Do you want to escape eternal hell?
Who wouldn’t! Hell insurance sells so we do all we can just to get the customer to sign up.
We urge a verbal agreement to the terms of the policy from our perspective, perhaps even convince them to sign a commitment. The terms of the agreement are clear. Say these words and you will have the assurance of heaven and protection from hell. Without ever explaining the current personal implications and immediate benefits of restored relationship the customers with a false sense of assurance tuck the policy away in a safe until the appropriate time.