SEEKING GOD - PART 2
By Colleen Donahue
We must introduce this study with what we learned in the first. We were made for God. Augustine (an early church father) said it well; "Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee."
All of us were wrenched away from our true home (with God) when sin entered the world and became the norm for men. Since the fall, man roams this earth independent from God and away from His presence. Our universe has shrunk to revolve around ourselves and the things we possess instead of revolving around our Heavenly Father and His vast treasures.
The only way for us to get back to the way things were supposed to be is to accept the plan of redemption that God laid out with His Son Jesus before the foundations of the world. You see God anticipated what man would do. He loves us as any parent would. He made a way for any of us -- indeed all of us -- to come back and start over.
God's plan of redemption is the one way to completely undo the tragic results of the fall and to restore us to the way we were meant to be. This plan of redemption has already been accomplished for us (at the time of Christ's death and resurrection). But --- because God will NEVER violate our free wills He waits for us to accept his plan, and then to come back home to live in his presence forever.
The idea that God is waiting for us might be one that "blows our minds" but it is true. He loves his children madly -- far more even then earthly parents can love -- because God is love himself (1 John 4:16). In fact, we can only love because God's nature is love (1 John 4:19).
Love is what we were made for and all life is about relationships. Even before man was created, God existed in eternity with His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit -- three persons in one God. It's a mystery for certain but one that God reveals to us through His word. God's big heart wanted many sons and daughters like his only begotten son Jesus. He wanted many sons and daughters! He wanted us!
So, we must begin this second study knowing that God loves us, He wants us back home with Him, He has promised a way for us to do that and therefore He wants to be found by you! Let the adventure begin!
How Do We Begin To Seek God - Part 2
Day 1- What drives any of us to want to seek for God?
It's this "eternity in our hearts" that makes us restless until we find the God who put it there.
Day 2- This seed of eternity builds to a yearning. We may not even realize what or who we yearn for but there is a gnawing within us that there is something more than what we have. Sometimes it is even anger that draws us to God. For where is the complaint department on this earth when we feel all life has been unfair?
Job 23: 1-5
Day 3- Something within us yearns for more than what this world can offer. Do any of these longings expressed by King David express what is in your heart?
Psalm 38:9 / Psalm 42:2 / Psalm 63:1 / Psalm 73:25 / Psalm 84:2
SEEKING GOD AND OBEDIENCE
Day 4- The limitations and pressures of this temporal life are all used by God to drive us to Himself. While God may not be the cause of your pressures and problems, He allows them so we will run home to Him. Here is an example from history.
2 Chronicles 15: 1-6, 12, 15
Day 5- In this example of King Asa and Judah, it's important to see that seeking God went hand in hand with action and with reform. God is not interested in casual seekers. He is never found by accident. According to these verses, what will seeking God require of us?
Deuteronomy 4:29 / Jeremiah 29:13
Day 6- This idea of seeking God with all of our hearts will always translate into action. From these verses list what Jehoshaphat did.
2 Chronicles 17:3-6
Day 7- And if we find ourselves in straightened places, what will God require of us to get back on track with Him?
2 Chronicles 7:14-15
Day 8- God waits for us to cry out to Him.
Exodus 2:23-25 / Psalm 61:1-2 / Psalm 143:4-9
But, will He answer?
Isaiah 65:24 / Jeremiah 33:3
Is there any doubt that our God wants us to find Him?
WHO CAN SEEK FOR GOD?
Day 9- The short answer is that you can. We are all created by God, He loves us as His own children, and therefore He is calling for all of us to come home to Him.
Isaiah 45:22 / Matthew 22:9 / Romans 10:12-13 / 1 Timothy 2:4
Day 10- Sadly, God knows that His offer will be refused by many.
Jeremiah 7:13 / Matthew 22:3 / John 5:40
In the case of Israel, God's chosen nation to represent Him in the world, we see how clearly God yearned for them.
Romans 10:21 / Jeremiah 35:15
Day 11- For those who do yearn for God, there are certain qualifications needed. As you look up these verses list the qualification that is needed.
A- Hebrews 11:6
B- Jeremiah 29:13 / Psalm 119:2 / Deuteronomy 6:5
C- Zephaniah 2:3 / James 4:10
D- Isaiah 55:1 / Revelations 22:17
E- Psalm 24:3-4 / Matthew 5:8 / James 4:8
F- Psalm 34:6
Does your list of qualifications look like this?
A- You need to believe that God exists.
B- You must want God with all your heart and be ready to obey Him
C- You will be ready to humble yourself so that you can be shown things and taught
D- You must be thirsty for God
E- Those with a pure heart. They see they are a sinner and have repented so they can be clean before the Lord
F- You must be desperate for God so that you'll turn to Him and pray.
G-You must agree to trust in what the Lord will reveal to you.
Day 12- You may "feel" like you could never be worthy to come back to God and that would actually be true. But Jesus our elder brother has cleared the way for us and actually calls out for us to come to Him and drink.
Who then can seek for God? You can.
THE PREPARATION NEEDED
If you had an appointment to meet the president of your country you would no doubt make preparations to do so. You would become aware of any protocol needed, clean up, get a hair cut, and maybe buy a new outfit. So too as we seek to approach our Lord and Creator a few things are needed.
Day 13- We have already mentioned this on Day 11 but since it is so fundamental let's read it again.
Three things are mentioned here:
1. Faith -- This is living out what God has told you to do and in dependence upon Him. You can only do this if.....
2. You believe that God exists. And if He exists and is trustworthy we must do what He says. Then...
3. Those of us who seek Him will be rewarded.
Therefore we must believe God exists, be willing to act out in life what He tells us to do, and then know without a doubt that you'll be rewarded for your seeking.
Day 14- God had a charge against Israel and He has the same charge against us.
In other words, they were living independently of God. Everyone was "doing their own thing" and they were destroying each other in the process.
Therefore if we are going to come back to God what preparation will we need to make?
Hosea 6: 3, 6
NOTE: To acknowledge the Lord means that we will press on to know Him and not be afraid to let that be known to others.
Day 15- The final preparation for seeking God will take serious commitment.
NOTE: In order to be able to sow new seeds of righteousness in your life and reap its fruit you have to break up the fallow, unplowed ground of your heart.
Day 16- What does this mean?
Ezekiel 18:30-31 / Acts 3:19 / Acts 17:30
It means you are to examine your life in the presence of God. You ask God, "Lord, where is the sin in my life? What are the ways I am walking independent of you? If you don't think you are a sinner because you are a good person this step is especially necessary for God doesn't agree with you!
Jeremiah 2: 35 / I John 1:8,10
If you are serious about knowing, He will tell you. He'll bring things to your mind and conscience. Some things will be obvious sins but there may be things brought to your mind that you wouldn't think of as sin.
Day 17- For everything the Lord points out to you what will be required?
Ezra 10:11a / Proverbs 28:13
To make confession means that you agree with God. What He has put his finger on is true, you acknowledge it, and repent of it.
To repent means that you made a decision to walk 180 degrees in the opposite direction. If the Lord has brought to your heart that you are a liar, then it means you agree with Him that indeed you do lie and from now on you will speak the truth even if it is hard to do so.
Day 18- If all this preparation to see God seems too hard you can comfort yourself with these promises.
2 Chronicles 7:14 / Isaiah 55:7 / Ezekiel 18:21 / 1 John 1:9
Once we make this preparation the way is literally cleared for us to pursue God. For sin is like a huge mountain that separates us from God and when we repent (agree with God about our sins) then that mountain gets broken up -- actually leveled --- so that we can begin our journey to seek for God.
If you will not commit to the preparation then you can stop right here for God knows you are not really a diligent seeker. He is never fooled even if we fool ourselves.
Day 19- How will you know when your preparation is done? The answer is back in the verse we read on day 15. Notice the last phrase of this verse.
When repentance is real you'll start to feel relief and a sense of cleanness. That's because Jesus accepts your repentance and actually showers you with HIS righteousness. You will start to see your life is blessed by God with showers of blessing.
Psalm 72:6 / Ezekiel 34:26 / Hosea 6:3
And when you begin to see these blessings and feel clean then keep going for much more is ahead.
WHO DO WE SEEK?
You are probably asking, "Isn't this study about seeking God?" I would answer, "Yes it is, but the question is which God?" We live in a time when almost everyone is referencing God in some way. But if you dig under the surface, the meaning of "god" can be vastly different! For some, god is just a force within us and we ourselves are god. For Muslims, God is the god of Mohammed -- one god but not a trinity (father, son, and Holy Spirit). Mormons believe in many gods (father, son, and Holy Spirit but they are not one God). A pantheist would say god is everywhere and in everything in the universe. To them, god might be infused with the plants!
While we must always be respectful of what others believe, we need to see that not all gods are alike. There is one true God that created this universe. This God has written down for us what He has done, what He thinks and feels. His word to us written down through men filled with His Holy Spirit is called the Bible. That word is "His- story" and unlike other holy books, the Bible can be verified because it is also history.
Day 20- In these verses what common phrase is used to describe the God whom we seek?
Leviticus 18:2,4 / Leviticus 19:2,4 / Leviticus 20:7 / Deuteronomy 5:33 / Deuteronomy 10:17
These verses are only a few of hundreds of verses in which God is referred to as the "Lord your God". The word Lord in Hebrew is from "Yahovah" and it means self-existent or eternal. The word God is from the Hebrew "Elohiym" and means the all-powerful one Creator.
Then you'll notice that it says, "the Lord YOUR God". That implies ownership or recognition that we believe in the one eternal God, Creator of Heaven and earth and therefore He is indeed the Lord of all life which includes our own. It's important to see that the Lord God whom we seek is outside our realm. He is not a god that we make into our image but rather He is the Lord God who made us after HIS image. Therefore His authority and truth are absolute. And this is the problem for many today. We want "god" in our lives but not enough to give up our independence and call Him, "Lord".
Day 21- King David gives us a clue about who we seek. What is the common phrase used in these three verses?
1 Chronicles 16:11 / Psalm 27:8 / Psalm 105:4
Depending on your Bible translation that common phrase might be "seek his face" or "seek his presence". When we can "look someone in the eye" or the face it means that the way is clear between us.
Day 22- Many of us wonder why God seems to hide his face from us and forget us. David asks the question for us.
And God is very clear about why he does hide his face.
Deuteronomy 31:18 / Isaiah 59:2 / Isaiah 64:7b
NOTE: Those "other gods" mentioned in Deuteronomy 31:18 may have been statues of gods in Old Testament times but today those "other gods" might be things we own, the power we crave, or the people that have become more important than God.
Day 23- What is the main result of God hiding his face from us?
Isaiah 1:15 / Micah 3:4
When we go back to our main question, "who do we seek", we can now answer that we seek the one eternal God, who is the Lord of Heaven and earth, and who does not tolerate sin, evil, and wickedness.
Should we be in any doubt about how we can get God to show his face to us here are a few practical suggestions from Isaiah.
Day 24- The truth is, that man on his own can never do enough good works to get right with a holy God so that we can look Him in the face. In His love for us, God has given us His Son so that we could see the Father clearly. What is true about His Son?
Therefore when a person believes in God's son Jesus, what else is true?
John 12: 44-45
Day 25- In Jesus, we have God incarnate -- God Emmanuel --God here on earth with men! Jesus had been in the beginning with God.
John 1:1-2 / John 17:5
But over 2,000 years ago Jesus came to earth to show men what God was like.
John 14: 7-10
Day 26- Jesus proved to men during the course of His life that He was God. How?
John 10: 37-38
And this was affirmed by men that had walked with the Lord or closely with those who knew Jesus.
Colossians 2:9 / 1 Timothy 3:16 / Hebrews 1:3
Day 27- A few times during the course of Christ's life, God the Father parted the Heavens and spoke audibly so that men could actually hear His words. The first time was when Jesus was just starting His ministry.
The second time was when Jesus was soon to have his life ended. This time God's words contained a message for us. What is it?
Now we can more completely answer our question, "Who do we seek"? We seek the one eternal God, who is Lord of Heaven and earth, and that has manifested Himself in His Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we see the face of God and in Him, we are reconciled to God. When we seek Jesus we will not be far from knowing His Father.
Day 28- Jesus is so anxious that all men would know His Father that when He left the earth He gave us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Holy Spirit is also God and as the third person of the trinity has a distinct role.
John 16: 12-15
Therefore as we seek to know Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will guide us into the truth about God. Every one of us can have our own personal tutor!