Seeking the Face of God
2 Chronicles 7:11-14
James C. Denison
Unemployment is on the rise as the recession continues. In my desire to be a full-service pastor, I have come today with a job opportunity. Queensland, a state in Australia, announced on Monday that it is looking for someone to live on the beautiful tropical paradise of Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef for six months.
This person will stroll the white sands, snorkel the reef, and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates. The person will be paid $150,000 and given free airfare from the winner’s home to the island and back. All this to increase tourism to Australia in these tough economic times. Applications are open until February 22; the winner will begin living in paradise on July 1.
Queensland is calling this the “best job in the world.” I know one even better—a job which will take us not to an island in paradise, but to paradise itself.
We’re learning how to position ourselves for spiritual awakening in these days. If we humble ourselves, admitting that we need more of God than we are now experiencing, and pray for our nation to come to God, we are now ready to focus on ourselves.
God calls us to “seek my face.” This is the most amazing, exciting, transforming invitation a human being can ever hear. And the most urgent.
God is seeking you
The Bible clearly depicts a God who is seeking us. God sought Adam and Eve in the cool of the Garden of Eden. He sought Noah, calling him to build the Ark which would save the human race. He sought Abram in the land we call Iraq today, and called him to himself. He sought Jacob on that night they wrestled together, and Joseph in Egypt, and Moses at the burning bush. He sought David after the king had sinned horrifically, and the prophets to speak his word to the world.
Then he sought us in the most miraculous, unexpected way of all—he became one of us. He folded the glory and power which created the universe down into a fetus who grew into a baby who breathed our air, walked our dirt, faced our temptations, felt our pain, died on our cross and rose from our grave. We could not climb up to him, so he climbed down to us.
He sought fishermen beside the Sea of Galilee, and tax collectors in their booths and trees, and lepers in their abandoned loneliness, and demoniacs in their cemetery hideouts. He was the woman who sought the lost coin, the shepherd who sought the lost sheep, the father who sought the prodigal son. He sought Peter after his denials and Paul in the midst of his persecutions.
And then the day came when he made you. In fact, he’s been in the process of making you for a very long time. Bill Bryson, in A Short History of Nearly Everything, puts it well: “Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result—eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly—in you” (pp. 3-4).
He made all that is, and he made all of you there is. Your God has given you a heart which pumps enough blood through your body every 24 hours to fill a railway tanker. Every day it exerts as much effort as it would take to shovel 20 tons of gravel onto a platform as high as your waist.
He has made you of protons, the core of atoms. Look at the dot on an “i” in your Bible. It holds something in the region of 500,000,000,000 protons, more than the number of seconds contained in half a million years. Your Father made all of that, for you.
You live in a visible universe is now calculated as a million million million million miles across. Through a telescope you can see around 100,000 galaxies, each containing tens of billions of stars. And you’re watching all this on a planet which spins at the speed of 1,000 miles an hour at its equator. Your Father made all of that, to make a place for you.
And then he made you. His Son died on the cross for you and rose from the grave for you. His Spirit led you to this worship service, and now to hear these words. The God of the universe wants an intimate, passionate, personal relationship with you. He is seeking you.
Are you seeking God?
The question is, are you seeking him? The other day a friend forwarded me this question: “Is there any logic in believing that God started his Church as a Spirit-filled, loving body with the intention that it would evolve into entertaining, hour-long services? Was he hoping that one day people would be attracted to the Church not because they care for one another, not because they are devoted to him, not because the supernatural occurs in their midst, but because of good music and entertainment?”
The world’s religions have always seen worship as a kind of transaction. Make a sacrifice to Athena so she will bless your olive harvest. Practice the four noble truths on the eight-fold noble path so you can achieve enlightenment. Declare that there is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet; pray to Allah five times a day; go to Mecca; fast during Ramadan; give to the poor—all so you will perhaps be accepted by God into his paradise.