Four-year-old Corin loved our game of hide-and-seek and loved to be found. The first few rounds, his smiling face was sure to be found under his sister’s bed. Another time when I approached the living room to look for him, he popped out of his hiding place jumping up and down in excitement.
“Seeking the Lord” is a phrase that occurs repeatedly in the Old Testament. Each king of Judah is evaluated on the basis of whether or not he “sought the Lord.” So what does it mean to “seek the Lord”? Is God hiding? Does He want to be found?
I checked the Internet to find out what people are “seeking” these days. The list includes shelter, financial assistance, donors, suspects, election, a mate, truth, a more intense than to merely look for something that’s lost or someone who’s hiding. People who “seek” the things listed above have a strong desire and are pro-active about getting what they want or need.
So if I seek God, I will be pro-active in thinking about Him, doing what He wants, enjoying His greatness, beauty, and worth. John Piper says it’s “a conscious…focusing of our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God.” (Here’s his very good article on seeking God: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/what-does-it-mean-to-seek-the-lord
And it’s the opposite of mental coasting. We know which direction coasting will take us, don’t we?
What happens in me when things go well? When a crisis comes? When I’m on my own? What do my responses say about my true character?
The “report cards” of the kings of Israel and Judah are very revealing. Here are some of the more dramatic ones.
When things went well…
…Solomon turned to worship his many wives’ foreign gods. (1 Kings 11)
…Amaziah, after trusting God for an amazing victory over an enemy, brought back that enemy’s worthless gods, adopted them as his own and worshipped them. (2 Chronicles 25:5-16)
…Josiah enjoyed a peaceful reign, radically committed to the Lord all the days of his life. Ahhh! (2 Kings 22:1-23:25)
When a crisis came…
…Asa, previously a very godly king, appealed to powerful neighbors instead of God, and then became a tyrant to his own people. When God punished him with illness, he turned to doctors instead of back to the Lord and died a painful death. (2 Chronicles 16)
…Jehoshaphat went straight to God for help. God took over from there and turned the enemies on one another. All Jehoshaphat’s people had to go was march into battle with songs instead of swords, then haul away the plunder. (2 Chronicles 20) Hezekiah’s story is very similar. (2 Kings 19:1, 14-36)
When a godly mentor was taken away…
–Joash enthusiastically served God as long as the priest (his guardian and mentor) was around. BUT when that man died, Joash turned right around and abandoned God, turning that same enthusiasm to the worship of heathen gods. (2 Chronicles 24) How could he?!?
–Uzziah “followed God during the lifetime of Zechariah, who taught him how to honor God….BUT once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He disobeyed the LORD his God.” (2 Chronicles 26:5, 16 NET)
What about me? What is my true character that will show through when my circumstances change—or if they don’t? Who am I, really?
I remember from childhood the stories of two boy kings of Judah with similar names—Joash and Josiah. They were seven and eight years old, respectively, when they were crowned. Both served God in their early years and both commissioned renovations of the Temple. But there the similarity ends.
When Joash’s godly mentors were off the scene, he and his officials made a deliberate decision to turn away from God and worship idols instead! And when God sent Joash’s own cousin Zechariah to reprimand him, he had him killed right in the Temple courtyard. What went wrong?
Josiah, almost 200 years later, was the son of a very wicked king, but Josiah “began to seek the God of his ancestor David” and served Him with all his heart throughout his life. What went right?
As a mother of three, I thank God that each of my sons has made the decision to follow the Lord with all his heart. And as the grandmother of ten (and still counting!), I pray that each of them will choose to do the same. Oh, Lord, turn our hearts to You and keep us faithful!