Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

seeking God Archive

Thursday

14

May 2020

Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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“To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.” (A.W. Tozer) | Seeking the Lord | Hopereflected.com

Nearly five centuries of history are covered throughout the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, including great detail about the lives of many kings, including Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.

Seeking the Lord

Jehoshaphat, whose name means “Jehovah has judged,” lived a fascinating life. The son of Asa, we read that the Lord was with Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:3). Why was the Lord with Jehoshaphat? Because Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of David (who we know was a man after God’s own heart), he sought to the Lord, walked in his commandments, and his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.

After learning about Jehoshaphat’s spiritual strengths, it may be surprising to some to find out that Jehoshaphat made some serious errors in judgment throughout his reign. He formed an alliance with King Ahab of Israel –  one of the most wicked kings in history – which almost cost him his life, and later, Jehoshaphat tried to form an alliance with Israel through the building of a navy with the wicked King Ahaziah. Both of these allegiances failed, and yet we still read that throughout his life, Jehoshaphat did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Prepare your heart to seek God

We aren’t the only ones who make mistakes in life; even King Jehoshaphat was human! It is encouraging to know that although we fail, although we falter, we can still do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. After his debacle with King Ahab, Jehoshaphat is rebuked for his mistake by the prophet Jehu, who tells him: “Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.” (2 Chronicles 19:3).

How did Jehoshaphat prepare his heart to seek God? Well, even after his misadventure with Ahab, Jehoshaphat “returned in peace” to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 19:1). Jehoshaphat didn’t stay in Ramothgilead, he returned home, and peacefully at that. When we make mistakes, we must return and repent to the Lord. Preparing our hearts to seek God requires confession, repentance, and honesty.

Seeking the Lord means getting our hearts right

Jehoshaphat also prepared his heart to seek God by taking correction well, and making changes. After his mishap with Ahab, the prophet Jehu admonished Jehoshaphat: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (19:2). When Jehoshaphat heard this rebuke, he didn’t get upset, he didn’t sulk. On the contrary, he made changes! He stayed in Jerusalem, he brought the people back to God, he set godly judges in place, and he sought after the Lord. When we are corrected, what is our reaction? Do we have an attitude of pride, or are we humble in spirit? To get our hearts right, we must be humble. God is close to the humble, but the proud he knows from afar (Psalm 138:6).

Jehoshaphat got restless, and he wandered, but ultimately he prepared his heart to seek God. As Tozer said, “To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.”

Originally published as “Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat” Independent Plus. March 5, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

22

November 2019

Lead me in the way everlasting

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“As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. If there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life.”  Matthew Henry | Read more at hopereflected.com

Our lives here on earth aren’t separate from our lives after death

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) We often think upon reflection of David’s words in Psalm 139:24 that “lead me in the way everlasting” refers specifically to eternal life, however David was asking for direction for his life on earth.

Our lives here on earth aren’t separate from our lives after death; in fact, the path we choose here on earth will ultimately determine where we’ll live when we die.

The Lord knows us thoroughly

Matthew Henry said in his commentary that, “As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. If there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life.”

The way everlasting isn’t a path we just happen upon; throughout our journey we have to continuously ask God for directions. “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.” (Psalm 5:8) It’s easy to get tripped up and sidetracked by what the world deems as wise, but the way everlasting is only found by seeking guidance in one place: God’s true and perfect Word. The self-care and do-good beliefs, the world religions, the “influencers” who try to woo us – they are like the teachers that Jude referred to as “wandering stars”. Joseph Benson said of them, “as the planets seem to have a very irregular motion, being sometimes stationary and sometimes retrograde, they are very proper emblems of persons unsettled in their principles, and irregular in their behavior….”

Seek the Lord first

None of us are perfect. We each go through seasons (some lasting longer than others) where we are also unsettled and irregular. The good news is that the way everlasting – on earth and to eternity – isn’t dependent on anything that you or I can do. We will never measure up, none of us will ever reach the righteous standard on our own merit, only God can do that for us – and He did, when He sent His only begotten Son to die so that we can live. Lest you think you’re destitute and too far down the path of darkness to turn around, our Lord has already paid the price to redeem your life from destruction (Psalm 103:4). All you have to do is choose Him.

Let us not be like the “wandering stars” described in Jude 13, “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Rather, let us follow the path of the just, which Proverbs 4:18 describes as, “the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The way everlasting will lead us to the perfect day; eternity. Do you know where you’ll be spending it?

Originally published as “Lead me in the way everlasting.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 28, 2019: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

9

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Time with God: Seeking God

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Seeking God "Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face evermore!" (Psalm 105:4) | See more at hopereflected.com

Time with God: Seeking God

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been journaling about the references David made in the book of Psalms about seeking the Lord. David was a model of what it is to truly spend time with God. While he was incredibly flawed – hey, what it is to be human, right? – David was also incredibly close to our Lord. While we can learn from many positive examples of how David sought the Lord, here are three that really stand out to me: 

Seek God early. “O God, You are my God; early will I seek you.” (Psalm 63:1) Seeking God early: If you’re not a morning person, I can understand why you’d struggle with this. Reading through the Psalms however, there are so many encouraging verses about the value of seeking God early in the day. It’s such a viable point that David references it at least nine times that I can see in just one book of the Bible. “My voice you shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3) Beyond just early in the day, it’s also important that we seek God early: Before making important decisions, before addressing problems, before we interact with others, before we leave the house. Early doesn’t just reference the morning; it references seeking God diligently and earnestly before making decisions (1 Kings 22:5). I’m no scholar, but the same Hebrew word for “early” used in Psalm 63:1 is also used in Psalm 78:34, “they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God.”

Seek God often. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (Psalm 105:4) Some versions of the Bible replace the word “evermore” with the word “continually” or “always”. We are to seek the Lord continually, to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). Maybe for you seeking the Lord often means praying during your daily commute. Perhaps it’s communing with him while you’re out for a walk, or sitting at your desk, or while you’re making dinner. Wherever you are, seek Him! God is always with us, and we’re told in Proverbs 8:17 that those who seek the Lord diligently (read: Often) will find Him. You may think you don’t have time for God, but the key to seeking God often isn’t us making time; it’s making God part of everything that we do. After all, in Him we live and breathe and have our being. “In God we boast all day long, and praise your name forever. Selah.” (Psalm 44:8)

Seek God every day. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” (Psalm 27:4) Each day brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. And no matter what the day brings, we are to seek God every day. What a challenge! We aren’t just to seek Him when we feel good, or when the circumstances suit us; we are to seek Him every day. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16) Whether the day is terrific or troubling, we should seek God every day (Psalm 50:15).

David was in no way a perfect man, and I think that’s part of what makes his testimony so relatable – he was human, just as we are, and yet we witness him demonstrate so many times through God’s Word ways that we should seek God. When we earnestly seek after God, He seeks after us. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Originally published as “Time with God: Seeking God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 16, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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