Walking in the Favor of God: Seeking

Walking in the Favor of God: Seeking

This morning, we’re continuing our message series entitled, “Walking in the Favor of God.”  We learn from the account of a young, twelve-year-old-Jesus how to increase in the favor of God and man.


We were reminded last week that to increase in God’s favor requires that there be a choice on our part to make such as Cain and Abel’s offerings.  We learned that often, it is through difficult circumstances permitted by God in which we increase in God’s favor such as in the case of Job.  God’s will for permitting this difficulties is not to break us nor cause harm to us.  These difficulties are temporary seasons to bring about revelation and increase in our faith and to create the potential for us to grow and increase God’s favor in our lives.  Even as His word reminds us:


Lamentations 3:25-27 (MSG)

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing to stick it out through the hard times.


In fact, this week, we are learning about exactly that; the lost art of waiting on God and seeking after Him.  Going back to the recorded account of young Jesus, there first came a painfully difficult situation where Mary and Joseph searched frantically for three days for their lost child.


As a bit of a side note, we find recorded that angels revealed that it was God’s favor upon Mary and Zechariah that brought about the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus.


We can only imagine how we would feel if we lost our twelve-year-old child for three days.  Imagine the added pressure of Joseph and Mary knowing that the child that they have just lost is the savior of the world entrusted to their care by God, Himself.  He was the one sent to save all mankind from their sins.  This is the child that was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the Son of the Lord Most High, the One whose coming had been foretold by the prophets of old.  Angels revealed this all very clearly to Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Zechariah.  Can you image that added pressure that made their loss a bit more of a difficult situation?


Well, what should the next step be when we face difficulties?  This is a step that even people who deny God everywhere else in their lives begin to do when things get bad enough.  That next step for us should be to seek after God!


Seeking after God, however, is not just something that we should do when, as they say, we are at the end of our rope.  In fact, I’m a firm believer that if we recommitted ourselves to seek after God in our lives, that we would reach the end of our rope far less frequently.


As I was praying about how to communicate the deeper root of our need to seek after God, video games actually came to mind.  Many of us are familiar with video games; specifically role playing games like Super Mario Brothers, Spyro the Dragon, Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc.  If you’re not, that’s OK, too.  The point will still be understood.


In these video games, characters roam throughout various worlds or levels overcoming various obstacles and enemies and gathering items until they arrive at their final destination where the game is won.  Many of has have played these games, finally reached the end of the game, only to find out that we didn’t exactly finish the game.


Although we obtained the primary objective of the game and overcame all of the required obstacles to reach the end, we only actually completed about 70% of it.  We missed some things along the journey.  We reach the end only to realize that there were prized objects that we failed to gather, hidden levels that we overlooked.  There were deeper parts of the game that we missed and failed to unlock.


Although we did what was required of us, there were greater things that we could have achieved.  There were valuable treasures that we failed to unearth.  There were more challenges that we could have faced to make us stronger.  There were hidden things that we never sought after.


Moving along from video games, the Bible actually reveals that life is very much like this as well.  It is possible for us to live our lives to their end, but not to their fullest.  We’re going to start reading a bit earlier just to keep this all in its proper context.


1 Corinthians 3:1-15

1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?


5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.


10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.


We have a choice in regard to what we do with the grace or favor that God has given us.  We can choose to mosey on through life doing very little of worth for Jesus, we can be ones who escape the flames of Hell and still enter into God’s glorious Kingdom.  However, we can also be wise builders.  We can build things of eternal value that stand the test of Jesus and we can be richly rewarded for them.  We can be ones who seek after God, carefully seeking out the deeper things, and choose to diligently work for Him.  Even as Jesus asked of us:


Matthew 6:19-21

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Where is our treasure?  What things do our hearts long for?  Are they the things of this world that are easily stolen and that rust and fade away or are they things that stand the test of eternity?  What are the things that we spend our resources seeking?  Jesus gave us two parables to help us understand what it looks like when one is seeking after God and His Kingdom.


Matthew 13:44-46

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.


Seeking after God is not something that we can ever do half-heartedly.  We often think that to seek after God is to say a quick prayer and to move on with our lives thinking only of what we need to get done and worrying about things.  That is not at all what Jesus considers seeking Him.  To truly seek after God is an art of passion.   To truly seek after God is to be consumed by the pursuit.  To truly seek after God is an act of patience and trust.


If we can begin to imagine what Joseph and Mary felt and how they acted while they were seeking after young Jesus, then we can begin to understand what it is like to seek after God.  Even as Jesus described it, to seek after God is to value Him above all else.  Mary and Joseph completely changed paths to seek after Jesus.  They put everything else aside until they found Him.  I’m sure that they didn’t do it alone, either.  They reached out to their closest friends and family and had them join the search.  Though they may have felt deep guilt, shame, and regret for having lost Him, they cast those feelings aside.  Nothing mattered to them aside from finding Jesus.


As hunters, we understand this kind of pursuit.  We know what it feels like to see that monster buck on a game cam just before season that comes strutting around our stand every day around the same time.  We know, though we may be ashamed to admit it, the resources that we’ve poured into that relentless pursuit.


We know what it is like to sit in that stand for hours, even days, with the absolute expectation that this monster buck is just a few moments from walking back to that same spot.  We sit there fully focused with all of our senses heightened to any movement nearby.  We become camo’d statues, one with the tree and branches, scents all covered, seeking after that buck.  We know what it is like to see him and still wait with our hearts pounding for a good shot before making any movement.


If we can fully grasp, understand, and relate to this type of passionate pursuit and seeking after a critter, willing to do whatever it takes to take it down, then why is it that we are so half-hearted and impatient when it comes to seeking after God?  Why is it that we can understand that to be still and to patiently and quietly wait is the way to passionately seek after a deer, but not to seek after God?


Why is it that we become so anxious and full of worry and doubt and begin to run around trying everything to solve our problems when life gets tough?  Why do we not instead be like that hunter?  Why don’t we become perfectly still, focus on God, heighten our every sense to hear and see God in the midst of our troubles, and quietly and patiently wait on Him?  This is one of the greatest ways in which we can seek after God.


Lamentations 3:25-27 (MSG)

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing to stick it out through the hard times.


To seek after God is to know His goodness when our circumstances aren’t revealing it.  It is to quietly hope for God’s help when it looks like He is hidden far from us out of our reach.  It is to passionately wait on God and to seek after Him knowing that He’ll be found.  It is to know that God has permitted these difficulties for a purpose.  It is to know that He has blessed us with bountiful times for a purpose.  It is to trust Him wholly and completely.  After all, it is not one who partially hopes in God and half-heartedly seeks Him to has hope, who has a future, who finds God; that is one who doubts God and should expect nothing from God.  God’s own word says:


Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.


When we passionately seek after God, we will certainly find Him.  More often than not, however, to seek after God is to do what drives us crazy, to do what is hardest of all for us to do, it is to essentially do nothing at all.  It is to be still, to be quiet, to patiently trust, and to focus our senses on God.


It can be the most powerful act of warfare this world has ever known.  It can be the answer to our questioning heart.  It can be the breakthrough to all of our struggles.  It can be the comfort and peace in the midst of turmoil and grief.  Psalm 46 reveals many of these awesome deeds of the Lord, then God speaks in verse 10 and:


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”


There is so much that we could discuss on this subject and hundreds of scriptures reveal far more on this subject.  However, I believe that more than learning, studying, and analyzing this art of passionately and patiently seeking after God, He desires us to do it.  To walk in the favor of God, we must seek after Him.


Therefore, this morning as we worship, I encourage you to come forward to the altar.  Over and over again throughout the scriptures, men would build altars for this very purpose: to seek after God.


I’d like to challenge you this morning.  Come to the altar before God and take some time to do nothing at all.  Simply be still before Him.  Know that He is God.  Patiently trust Him.  Heighten your senses to Him.  He may speak to you in an audible voice.  He may give you a vision.  He may overwhelm you with emotion.  He may do nothing more than to give you a sense of assurance that He is with you and for you.


Feel free to respond to Him however He leads you during our time of worship, but I urge you, at some point during worship, to simply be still and know that He is God.