2007-03-31 - Seek the Lord
Psalm 105:4, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always."
It would be fairly redundant to point out that looking to the Lord, resting in His strength, and seeking His face are good things. So I have in mind today to look a little deeper into what that means, and secondly to encourage you to seek the Lord more faithfully.
First let us look a little deeper. The Annotations on the Psalms by Henry Ainsworth (d. 1622) gave me a lot more insight into what is being said in this verse than a first blush reading of it could. What is in mind here, when David is talking about looking to the Lord and his strength, is a looking to the Ark of the Covenant, where the oracles of God (Ten Commandments) were housed. In Chaldean, another ancient language, this verse is paraphrased, "Seek ye the doctrine of the Lord and his Law." Such an understanding of "Look to the Lord and his strength," is very foreign to us. We think, in our self-centered, self-identified world of interpretation, that seeking the Lord and His strength is all about us. It is not all about us. It is about the Lord, His statutes for us, and His revelation for us. David found his strength in the Lord in the revelation of the Lord, to His people, which were housed in the Ark of the Covenant. It is a very strange concept to us. We gloss over these words about seeking the Lord and finding our strength in Him, and passively move on with a smile, thinking, "Yes, isn't that nice. I will do that." There is more here. In seeking the Lord and resting in His strength, we also commit ourselves to abiding by His will and revelation to us. It is a significant action on our part.
In addition, we might expect that the phrase, "seek my face always," has a little more punch to it than we might give it in a casual drive-by reading. To seek God's face is to seek His counsel. It is the desire to see, hear, know, and understand what His will for us is. It is not simply a comforting fill-in chorus line in a praise song. In seeking God's face, we link ourselves with the first portion of the verse. That gives it the context and enhances the power of what it says. It means seeking to live according to His revelation, His counsel, His way, His rules - dare we even say in our evangelically minded world---to live according to His law. Do you wish to seek His face? What follower of Christ doesn't? Then we must live a certain way. When David desired to seek the Lord, he turned to the Lord's revelation of Himself to His people. David did not look deep into the recesses of his own soul to seek God's face. He sought the Lord in the Lord's revelation of Himself. It is quite reversed from our common way of thinking.
Why don't we seek the Lord more often, or ever, in this manner? I will make a suggestion - but will not pretend to have a complete answer with this one explanation. We are prone to focus upon ourselves. It is natural for us to do so. Part of worship, part of Christian living, is getting off of ourselves and seeking the Lord. The evangelical mindset of today has largely left this part of the equation in the dust and has become self-centered. We are encouraged to put ourselves first, and told that this is good, but we have essentially lost the concept that putting the Lord first, seeking Him first in all things, is the only real way to ever be seeking what is best for us.
Soli Deo Gloria,