Why Should I Seek God?
I would like to start of today’s message with a joke. So there’s this fisherman. His name is Jimmy. And Jimmy loves to fish. And whenever he fishes, afterwards he heads out to the Dros with his mates to tell them about his fishing stories. The fish were always this big, or that big; stretching his arms out as wide as they would go! The friends finally got tired of Jimmy’s tall tales and decided to do something about it. So they tied his hands together while he slept.
The next morning, unperturbed by the distraction of these ropes around his arms, Jimmy went fishing again. You can still cast with your hands tied together. He fished all day, and then headed to meet his friends at the Dros. So Jimmy walks right up to his friends with an excited look on his face, and cries out – “I caught a fish today. It was huge! It was… Well, Its eye was this big!” as he stretched his hands as big as he could.
I attended a week-long conference this last week. The venue was a place a little outside of Potchefstroom. We were right on the river’s edge. On this conference there just so happened to be a number of avid birders and keen fishermen. I don’t get birding – if it’s not Kentucky fried, I don’t care what kind of bird it is. And if I don’t get birding, I really don’t get fishing. One wise man I know describes fishing as a jerk on one end of the line, waiting for a jerk on the other end of the line.
But these fishermen – one of them was my dorm-mate, would wake up early in the morning, even though the conference was weighty enough as it is, and they would head out to the river. They would wade out into the middle of the rapids with their fly-fishing equipment, and cast for an hour before breakfast. During the breaks between sessions, they would do the same again. And in all this, with all of their enthusiasm and passion, they might catch a fish or two in a day. And, as fishermen do, they would talk about these one or two catches all day until the next one.
Why did they do this? Why wake up so early, sacrifice much-needed sleep, to go out into the dawn? Why leave the comfort of their warm, soft beds for the discomfort of the cool, wet river? Why leave the safety of their rooms for the danger of these rapids? Well, they did it for that catch. There’s a great excitement in catching the fish; and for the excitement of the catch, a fisherman will stand for hours in rough, cold water; he’ll read books on, of all things, different kinds of flies. He’ll practice new casting techniques. For that catch.
I’m starting a new series today which, God-willing, I will pick up again when I get the chance next year. My series will be entitled – Why? The idea behind the series is that for those of us who have grown up in the Church, or spent many years walking the Christian life, we generally know what we are meant to do in our Christian lives – for example, in the case today: seek God. We generally know how we are to do it – for example, in this case, through reading the Word, prayer, being involved in fellowship. So we know ‘the what’ and ‘the how’, but I want to explain the why.
Have you ever thought about that? I know I should be seeking God; or I know I should be attending Church; or I know I should be praying, tithing, forgiving others, sharing the gospel. But why? And the answer to that question can’t always just sit on the answer ‘because God says so’, or ‘because my parents taught me to when I was a child’.
When we are kids, our parents might have got annoyed at us for the why questions – “Why is the sky blue”, “Why do I need to go to bed now?” “Why does that man have such a big belly?” or as Barry’s boy will say, “Why is that woman’s trolley so full?” or “Why can you touch a plug?”… And so maybe we might have stopped asking the 'why' questions. But the why questions take us deeper. You may be able to tell someone what you do, but if you’re able to tell them why you do it – well that’s when you move up higher management. It shows you have a more comprehensive and intimate knowledge of your field.
And it’s the same way with the Christian life. Sure, you can tell people what you do here, or what you do in your walk with God. But I want to take you to a place of being able to understand why you do it. Or, in my fishing illustration - what is the catch of the seeking?
Today we’re going to start this series with a topic that’s becoming closer and closer to my heart: Why Seek God? Today I hope to give you 3 reasons for why you and I should seek God.
Firstly, because God invites you to.
1 Chronicles 16:11 “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
I really enjoy watching Disney movies. They have just enough humour, action, and drama couched in childish innocence to suit a restful evening. There’s a scene in Aladdin that I hope you’ll remember. Aladdin has found the genie in the bottle and made his first wish to become a prince so that he can impress Jasmine.
After a dismal first encounter, Aladdin decides to give it another go with a sneaky move. He flies up onto Jasmine’s balcony on his magic flying carpet – affectionately called ‘Carpet’. Jasmine is curious about this flying contraption, and Aladdin reaches out his hand to her, inviting her on an adventure. Aladdin invites her not just to ride on this magic carpet, but also to go on a journey with him, a journey to get to know him and for him to get to know her.
I don’t think there’s a guy watching that movie who hasn’t wanted to be Aladdin, inviting his beautiful princess on an incredible adventure; and I don’t think there’s a girl watching that movie who hasn’t wanted to be Jasmine, having her handsome prince extending his hand, calling her to trust him and experience an adventure.
Well here we are; not rich and beautiful princesses on the balcony of a castle; but poor and hurting men and women, wounded by this world and by our own sin, facing troubles every day. And yet God stands before us, reaches out His hand, asks us to trust Him and go on an adventure of discovery with Him.
Who would you rather go on an adventure with? A rich young prince from the near east? Bear Grylls? (unlikely!) Your husband? Or your wife? Your heart craves an adventure, but there is only One who extends His hand, who’s presence will heal, who’s gifts will satisfy – and that’s the LORD God.
Secondly, because in God’s presence is all that we’re seeking for.
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Why seek God? You might not realise it, but it’s true that what I’m looking for – He has, and He’s eager to share it with me.
Maybe you say to me, ‘No, Greg, that’s not true! I know it’s theologically true, but not practically true. I want a bakkie for work – does God have my bakkie? I want a husband – does God have my husband? I want a better job – does God have my better job? See? What I want, God does not have; or He may have, but He can’t or won’t share it with me.’
The conference that we went on this last week was rather powerful. It was a training week for an organisation called Living Waters which is headed by a man named Craig Groome, who will be speaking here in a few weeks and I encourage you all to come and hear what he has to say. At the heart of their ministry is searching the hearts of people for their deepest needs, and bringing those to Jesus in confession.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had your heart searched, but it’s amazing what might come up. Maybe you’ve been asking the Lord for a long time for a job; and after asking and pleading for months you still don’t have a job. You’re tired of pleading with God, you’re frustrated and angry and you think that God is failing you.
But should you search your heart, maybe you’ll find that your heart’s deep desire is to have security. You feel so insecure without a job. And God has been reaching out to you for all these months – “I won’t give you a job just yet, but I want you to know that you’re secure in my love. I won’t leave you, or fail you. Even though you think you’re not secure – I am your security.”
Maybe should you search your heart, maybe you’ll find that you feel like you’re failing without a job – failing your spouse, failing your parents, failing yourself. You feel so worthless without a job. And God has been reaching out to you for all these months – “I won’t give you a job just yet, but I want you to know that you’re valuable to Me. I love you, you’re precious to me. You can do any job that comes your way, I made you smart and I made you able. Even though you think you’re lost without a job – you are Mine. I am your Father, and I won’t let you go.”
I read a story this last week about a man who went for a bicycle ride out into the desert. He says that for some odd reason he only took a small amount of water with him when he left his bakkie. He left a couple of litres behind. As he rode out, he was enjoying the desert flowers, the views, and the freedom.
After a long while he realised that he had gone a lot further than he had intended, and he was out of water. So he started peddling back. As he peddled he got thirstier and thirstier. He wasn’t looking around him anymore, but looking ahead of him with a sense of desperation. As his thirst rose, he felt a sense of panic rising in him, and he peddled faster. The sun kept beating down on his back, and he felt more than a little faint.
Finally, there in the distance, was his bakkie. With a final push he made it to the bakkie, dropped his bike, whipped open his car door… and what do you think he reached for first? Was it his cellphone, to check Facebook? Was it for the car radio, to get some jams pumping to cheer himself up? Or was it for the water?
Without a doubt, he reached straight for what he most needed, the water! And he gulped it down until he was satisfied.
Now maybe in your life right now, if you looked at your heart you’d realise that you have a deep thirst, a deep longing. You think it’s for a job, or a spouse, or a child, or healing. But what you really need more than any of these things is to know that you’re secure, that you’re loved, that you’re worth something, that you’re accepted as you are. You see, what God offers you is not spiritual Facebook – something to distract you in your pain. No, what God has for you is the water that will nourish and satisfy your soul.
Jesus says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” “If anyone is tired from his labour, let him come to me and find rest.”
It’s the most beautiful thing to receive from God what we need. He, as an able and loving Father, has all that you need. Come to Him to receive it. Seek Him out and receive it.
That’s why Jesus says, ‘Don’t worry about not having clothes, or even food to eat. Don’t worry about that stuff. God knows what you need. But seek Him first, and all that you need will be given to you.’
But I want to say this – not only will he give you what you need, but He promises to abundantly bless those who seek Him. If that doesn’t make you want to run after Him, I quite honestly don’t know what will!
(2 Chron 26:5) We spoke a little about Uzziah in the last message I preached two weeks ago; how he was a godly man who sought the LORD. The Bible tells us that “He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:12-14 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
I say again, if that doesn’t make you want to run after Him, I don’t know what will!
So God invites us to seek Him; and we find what we are seeking in Him – God’s gifts. Finally, I want to encourage you with something else that we learn from God’s Word about seeking Him: That if we seek Him, we will find Him! That’s God’s Promise.
I know that many of you have tried seeking God before, and found it to be a difficult task at times. Seeking God is not always an easy thing to do. But this is not because God is elusive, evasive, slippery, or cagey. No, not because God hides from us, but because our minds are oftentimes clouded with misconceptions and deceptions planted by Satan and reinforced by the culture around us.
We live in a post-modern era, when truth is, you know, whatever you want it to be. God also is, you know, whatever you want Him to be. In fact, God may exist, but He can’t be known for sure.
And in the midst of this culture and these false teachings, God’s promise stands as a beacon of hope to those who would experience Him, who would seek after Him: Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
I hope that this will encourage some of you here this morning. Maybe you’ve walked a close journey with the Lord before in the past, and somewhere along the track you kind of lost Him. And though you tried to find your way back to Him it seemed that you kept getting more and more lost. But here’s God’s word: if you seek Him, and if you seek Him with all of your heart, you will find Him!
But this isn’t like a hide-and-seek game, or an Easter Egg Hunt. In hide-and-seek, the hider finds the most hidden spot, and sits and hopes not to be found – while hoping to be found, cause that’s the best part – but trying to give no clues about his location. Is that how you feel God is towards you?
Similarly, in an Easter Egg Hunt, it’s a game of chance. Maybe you find one, maybe you don’t. Is that how it feels in your devotional times with God, is that how you feel God is towards you – one day you find a gem, and then for a few days it’s fruitless searching, and it’s all a matter of blind luck?
But our searching for God is not like a hide-and-seek game, or an Easter Egg Hunt. This is a seeking after like a husband will do for the wife he has fallen far from. The goal is real, genuine intimacy and closeness, and the path is by communication, vulnerability, willingness to risk, willingness to trust. It is not an easy path, but the goal keeps you forging on!
So it is with God. Why seek God? Because we deeply desire to experience genuine intimacy and closeness with our loving Father. And the path is not easy. God is always calling us to be vulnerable, to be willing to risk with Him, and be willing to trust. At times, God will require us to change. It is not an easy path, but I trust that the goal will keep you forging on! It certainly keeps me forging on!
Today I want you to know that God our loving heavenly Father has invited you to SEEK HIM. His invitation goes out to all people all across the world, and there isn’t a single person that isn’t invited, it doesn’t matter how sinful, or how busy, or how independent – God invites you to seek Him, to know Him, to experience genuine intimacy and closeness with Him. What an invitation!! Could there be a better one?
Maybe you say you can’t – you don’t have time, you don’t have the energy – or maybe, you’re too sinful, there’s too much shame, too much guilt stored up in your heart to seek the glorious God of the universe! Today I want you to know that God has all that you need in His presence. God has all that you need!
You say, “I don’t have time, I’m trying to provide for my family!” God says, “I will provide for them, just as I provide for the birds – you seek Me!”
You say, “I’m not in a place where I can come to God. It’s been so long, and in that time I’ve done so much that I feel so guilty for. I’m ashamed of myself. God will never look at me!” God says, “I will make you whole. You need cleansing, come as you are and I will cleanse you. Just as I cleanse the ‘worst of sinners’ and the ‘least of sinners’, so I will cleanse you, bind up your wounds, speak My words of love over you. I’ll do that – you seek Me!”
All that you need, you’ll find in the presence of God; and God invites you to seek Him.
Finally, the wonderful promise: those of you here who will seek Him, will find Him. Are you willing to start seeking God’s heart? I told you that the goal is real, genuine intimacy and closeness, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’ll ever have that with God. But I want you to know, and I stand on God’s promise: the goal is secure – if you seek Him, He will be found by you. It’s not a 50-50 chance, it’s not the lotto, it’s God’s promise that you can stand on.
Let’s bow together and pray.
"God, I want to know and love You. I now choose to intentionally seek You with all my heart." Amen.