To seek – ‘to try to locate or discover” (www.thefreedictionary.com)
“1 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will).
2 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart. (emphasis added)
3 Yes, they do no unrighteousness [no willful wandering from His precepts]; they walk in His ways.” (Psalm 119:1-3, AMPC)
My conclusion after an initial exploration of what seeking God means is that truly seeking God takes time and diligent, focused effort. Here are the questions I explored and some conclusions I reached as I searched the Word.
Why do we seek God? Three of the many reasons are: He tells us to, it pleases Him, and we need the safety and blessings seeking Him brings.
God is looking for those who seek Him. How tender is the thought that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe looks over the whole earth for people who seek Him! “The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. “ (Psalm 14:2, NIV).
God eagerly longs to be gracious to us and show us mercy and loving-kindness (Isaiah 30:18.) when we put Him first, when we turn away from all “. . . idols—false gods [from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life.. .”] (1 John 5:21, AMPC)
God keeps our human frailties in His mind with intense seriousness. In Psalm 103, David describes God’s blessings and His mercy and loving-kindness toward our sins and iniquities. Just like a father, God loves and pities those who fear Him because He knows how we are made: “He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.” (verse 13-14). Think about that. He imprints–on His heart–the fact of our weakness. How often do you put your hand over your heart when you are deeply touched? Have you not, in deep sorrow for a loved one, felt actual physical pain in your chest? It must somehow be that God’s love for us actually affects His heart. Dear fellow believer, all I can say is “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:6, NIV)
Because God knows how we are formed and what we need, He tells us to “Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously” (Matthew 6:33,NLT) and we will have all that we need. Part of seeking the kingdom of God first is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV) It is wise to do this, to seek God—whole-heartedly. Psalm 14:2 in the Amplified tells me that we are wise and understanding when we seek God above all else.
2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood, dealt wisely, and sought after God, inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him [of vital necessity].
What does God mean by seek? To seek means to try to find someone or something. Webster’s 1828 Online Dictionary defines seek as “to go in search or quest of” and “to search for by going from place to place.” That implies effort, movement, and making progress toward something. We must make the effort to step out from our current position and then we must keep moving along, following the path that our pursuit creates. How often does the Word tell us to take action? We are told to put on God’s armor (Ephesians 6:11), to lay aside sin (James 1:21), and to trust God (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 34:8). How often does the Word show us that following God is a process, that it is a journey along a path? 2 Peter 1:3-11 exhorts us to “make our calling and election sure”, to keep growing and work hard to add to our faith one godly quality after another. God describes the path of the righteous person in Proverbs 4:18 (NIV): “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter than the full light of day.”
Other facets of seeking. When you do a word search for “seek, inquire and require”, you find words like crave (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 105:4) and yearn (Ezra 7:10, Psalm 84:2). And in everyday English, synonyms for seek include explore, pursue, follow, and to look high and low (like the Luke 15 parables of the lost sheep and the lost coins).
Clearly, when God says seek Him, He does not mean thinking about Him for an hour on Sunday and five minutes once in a while during the week.
Are you truly seeking the Lord? Do you desperately require Him, like the person in Psalm 77:2?
Why is “Inquire and require” associated with the word seek in the Bible? I am finding that the more I study the Word, the more I want to study the Word. One fruitful method is pursuing the explanatory words and phrases in the Amplified Bible, which include ideas speakers of the original language would have understood implicitly. For example, when I noticed that “inquire and require” appeared often after the word “seek”, I entered “seek, inquire and require” into the search window in BibleGateway.com.
I found that there are two ways to inquire– to “inquire of and for the Lord.” God caused King Artaxrexes to give Ezra all that he asked BECAUSE “. . . Ezra had prepared and set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord [to inquire for it and of it, to require and yearn for it] and to do and teach Israel its statutes and its ordinances. (Ezra 7:10, AMPC).
To inquire of someone is to ask a question of that person. To inquire for someone is to ask to see that person. So, we ask God questions (we ask of God) and we ask to see Him (we ask for Him, for His presence.)
To require God means He is our vital necessity, something necessary for life itself. This was how David instructed Solomon to love God when he was commissioning Solomon to build the temple.
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him; but [a]if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever
Stop and notice how David told Solomon to approach God. David told Solomon to get to know God personally, to understand Him (which requires a lot of interaction), and to recognize His worth, to obey Him and to cherish Him. David told Solomon to do that BECAUSE God understands every single thought and BECAUSE if Solomon loved God that way, then he would be blessed.
And notice that this is how King Asa began his reign. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God (2 Chronicles 14:2, NIV), he removed idols from the land “ and in verse 4 “commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers [to inquire of and for Him and crave Him as a vital necessity] (emphasais added), and to obey the law and the commandment.”
When something is vital to our survival, like air and water and food, we pursue that above all else. Is God your vital necessity?
We can seek God with confidence based on our needs and the authority of the Word. One chain of thought always leads to another when you plunge into the Word. What an unavoidable blessing! In pondering the previous verses, I saw a diamond of a promise in Psalm 9:10—that after I have personally experienced God’s mercy, I will be able to trust Him with confidence because I know He never forsakes me when I rely on His Word for my needs.
“And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity].”
These two concepts—our needs and the authority of God’s Word—are paired in these other verses given below. These verses show me that God will take care of me, will supply my needs and deliver me, when I have a need and when I approach Him on the authority of His Word.
“The authority of God’s Word” is an extremely broad and deep topic about which I have only a partial understanding. Here, in the verses below, I believe it means that we are living in the authority of God’s Word when we are doing our utmost to believe and do what He has told us to. So this means to me that I must obey and seek God with all my heart for His Word to operate, with authority, in my life.
Read these verses below and be amazed at what that blessed way of life includes.
Psalm 27:8– You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].
Psalm 34:4—I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (I especially love this verse because it says God delivered the psalm writer from ALL his fears!)
Psalm 34:10–The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing.
Lamentations 3:25–The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].
Notice that Lamentations 3:25 comes after Jeremiah has recalled his great afflictions and then in verses 22 through 24 Jeremiah turns to remembering the reason he has hope:
- Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
Dear friend, I, too, say that God is my portion. He is more than sufficient. He is all I need and more, just like a heaped-up plate at a sumptuous banquet. I am satisfied with Him, so I will truly seek Him, and I will wait for Him – with confident expectation!