First Mennonite Church
April 28, 2019
Texts: Isaiah 55:6-9, Hebrews 11:1-6
From the very beginning, God has been the greatest seeker of humankind. In Genesis we read of God seeking Adam and Eve after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. Later in the book, we find God coming to see what humans were up to in chapter 11. Then in chapter 12, God calls Abraham. God meets with Moses at Horeb. God comes to the rescue of the Israelite people. And throughout Israel’s story, God had continuously come seekimg his people and even more so when they had drifted away.
The command to seek God, here in Isaiah, implies three truths about the command. The first is that humans can seek God and that there are ways to do that. Secondly, that there is a time when seeking God is possible and a time when that might not be possible. Third, that there is a reason we should seek God. And there is even a fourth truth, as we also read in Hebrews: that God rewards those who seek him.
To anyone who wonders if it is possible for humans to seek God, Isaiah’s answer is: “Yes, you can seek God.” Although the Psalmist declares that clouds and thick darkness surrounds God (Psalm 97:2) or as Isaiah laments that “Truly you are a God who hides himself. . . .” (Isa. 45:15), or as Paul describes God as the one, “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see (1Timothy 6:16), God still invites and commands us to seek him. The underlying question for you and me is, are we seeking God? Have you, at any moment in your life or for whatever reason, ever been so desperate to meet with God? I am talking about a moment or situation in which you desperately wanted God to meet with you? Someone might want to answer this question by saying, “yes, I go to church regularly,” or, “sure, I read the Bible on occasions.” Or, “I believe in God.” But that is not what seeking God means. The question is, if you have diligently, deliberately, desperately sought to be in the presence of God?
I remember praying with someone who desperately wanted to speak with God. I tell you, you could see the restlessness and sort of desperation in the eyes of this person. After the prayer, the person said to me, “Yes, this is what I have been searching for.” Seeking God is possible as Jeremiah says, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12, 13). We will seek and find God when we pour out our heart before God. We will be able to encounter with God when we respond to the longing that is there deep in our soul and heart. Our soul hungers and thirsts for God as we do for water after long hours of not having a drink in a hot day. However, one of the greatest deceptions of the devil or our culture if you will, for us Christians is to believe that we have enough of God, whatever that might mean. This deception is as if God were like sugary drink, which we can do without or drink on occasions, or as needed. This deception has the purpose of making us believe that God is only a part of our lives’ needs and which is available among the many other things we have in the shelves of our lives. Oh, it’s Sunday, and we pull God out of our compartmentalized shelves of life. When something serious happens then we want to use God as tool to help us deal with the situation. And what we do not know is that our soul has been thirsting for God all the time, as our body is for water after a long day out in the sun. I believe that was the situation why Isaiah made this call to seek God. Isaiah’s word for Israel was,
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
It is only when we seek God that we are able to forsake the path of error. It is only when we seek God that we can appreciate the mercy and forgiveness of God. Seek the Lord while he can be found, calls Isaiah. When David was commissioning Solomon to build the temple, David ordered the leaders of Israel: Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.
How do we seek God?
Paul instructed the Colossian congregation: Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above (3:1-2).Seeking God is a conscious choice of directing the heart toward God. This is what Paul prays for the church: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). Seeking God requires a conscious effort on our part. You and I have to make that decision. We have to take the time and embark the spiritual journey of seeking God. But that effort to seek God is also a gift from God.
We can seek God through the created world. The beauty of creation can inspire us to desire to know the one who created it. Creation can lead us to praise and worship God. But the primary medium to find God through his word, the Bible. God speaks to us through the written word we find in the Bible. Let us develop the practice of reading God’s word, but not for the sake of it or out of religious duty. Let us read the Bible expecting God to appear to us like he did to Moses in the burning bush, to Peter by the sea after Easter, or even as to Paul, like a premature and abnormal birth–unexpectedly. Paul says that in Christ the whole fullness of God dwells in him in bodily form. But as Hebrews says, the clearest and surest way God has spoken has been through his Son Jesus Christ and that Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being (Hebrews 1:2, 3). Let us hear the voice of God by heeding the words of Jesus. We can seek and see the face of God in Jesus.
The reward of seeking God
There are great promises to those who seek the Lord. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). And in the letter to the Hebrews we read: Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). So, what reward does God give to those who seek him? First, is that God will give himself to us. He will be our God. Could there be any greater reward than having God by our side, in our life, and him being our God? Absolutely not! God will also give you his comfort, peace, forgiveness, and everything you cannot get elsewhere. From Isaiah we hear that God will have mercy on them and he will freely pardon their sins. God will give you everlasting life. God promises to walk with those who desire to walk with him. God promises to be our faithful companion in life, so we will never be alone or afraid, no matter what.
The invitation is to you and me: seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Today is the day when seeking God is possible. God is near you and near me. Or as Paul would say regarding God’s saving grace: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:8-9). Or as wise Solomon would say regarding wisdom: “look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:4-5).
My dear brothers and sisters, God desires for us to have a deeper relationship with him. He desires that we seek him as we do for the things we deem necessary or essential for life. God is more than a necessity for life, He is life. Therefore, let us allow the Spirit of God to sensitize our heart of the hunger and thirst for God there are in our soul. Let us heed to the voice of God calling us to himself.
An expert in human behavior said that by age 30, every person would have defined his or her preferred type of music he or she will listen to for the rest of his or her life. This will be the third time I will make mention of some song in Spanish and if truth be told, these are the songs I listened to when I was in my late teens through my twenties. And I still listen to them today.
The song is a version of “Bless the Lord Oh my Soul (Psalm 103)
(Ama a quien tanto a ti te amado.) Love him who greatly loves you.
(Piensa en quien nunca te olvidará.) Think in whom will never forget you.
(Busca a quien siempre ansia encontrarte.) Seek him who has always desired to meet you.
(Bríndale honra, que él te da paz.) Give him honor, for he gives you peace.
Today, let us make the words of the psalmist ours and commit ourselves to seek God.
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek” (Psa. 27:8) Amen.
 Los Voceros de Cristo, Oh Alma Mia (date published unknown)