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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Seek

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Matthew 7:7-8
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Daily Scripture Reading - Isaiah 51

Puritan Catechism
Question #51 - How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?

Answer - The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days (Lev. 23:3), and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship (Ps. 92:1-2; Isa. 58:13-14), except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy (Matt. 12:11-12).

Devotional Thoughts
In our text this week we see that Jesus is teaching us how to pray. He uses the terms ask, seek, and knock, but we see that He is using the terminology in order to make a point about how to pray. Matthew Henry says of these terms, "Ask, Seek, Knock (v. 7); that is, in one word, 'Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity and seriousness; pray, and pray again; make conscience of prayer, and be constant in it; make a business of prayer, and be earnest in it.'" Yesterday we saw how it was that we are to pray, asking according to God's will, in Jesus name, led by the Holy Spirit, in faith without doubting or fear. Today we will learn how prayer is typified in seeking.

How are we to seek God? How are we to pray as if we are seeking? We seek with earnestness, with determination, with faith, and with the assurance that we will find that for which we are seeking. And we seek God - not the answers! This is important. We often think that we are to seek the answer to our prayers, but what we learn is that we seek God. We seek to know Him. We seek to please Him. We seek His face, not His hands.

Many seek to get things from God, but that is a wrong view of God and of prayer. Yes, we ask and we seek, but the goal is not ultimately so that we get what we want - the joy of asking and seeking is in taking the time to get to know God better as we talk, listen, discern, wait, expect, and trust Him for the answer. The answer then is not the goal, as the needs we have are simply a means of growing in grace as we walk with God.

Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., used to say that our needs were like a "grace ambulance". We have needs and God by His grace meets those needs. The need is not the focus - God is as He meets the need. Think about how often the Scriptures tell us to seek God. In the dozens of verses that tell us to seek God we are not told to seek the answer - we are told to seek Him, to seek His face, to seek to know Him and see Him in the need!

As we seek God we also see that the term teaches us the nature of prayer - we seek as if we had indeed lost something valuable. We depend upon God to help us when that which is valuable to us has been lost or misplaced. Jesus tells us in several parables that the gospel is something that is valuable, to be sought and sacrificed for so that we might possess it and be possessed by it.

Calvin says of Matt 7:7, “Nothing is better adapted to excite us to prayer than a full conviction that we shall be heard. Those who doubt can only pray in an indifferent manner; and prayer, unaccompanied by faith, is an idle and unmeaning ceremony. Accordingly, Christ, in order to excite us powerfully to this part of our duty, not only enjoins what we ought to do, but promises that our prayers shall not be fruitless.” We seek then because we trust that we will find that for which we seek – we seek with determination, believing that God will provide for us what we need.

So we start by seeking the gospel, the forgiveness of sins. This we will not do on our own, as the Holy Spirit must first convict us and draw us. But then as we are saved we learn to seek God daily. To seek to please Him, to seek to have our sins forgiven as we walk in the grace He has freely supplied.

We seek next God's glory. Everything we do should be done for His glory, not our own. We seek for God to be exalted and magnified. We see then that using the term seek in the place of prayer shows us how our prayer life is to be focused on God, not self. We have needs but we go to God, trusting Him to meet them.

We should also seek to edify and encourage other believers. Our motive then is not selfish, but selfless, so that even in our need others might be blessed. Paul praised the church in Philippi for this very thing - they had great needs and yet in the midst of their lack they supplied gifts for the needs of the church at Jerusalem.

The key today for us to remember is that we seek with our whole heart. God is not impressed with half-hearted prayers, prayers offered for the benefit of those listening instead of prayers of worship as we adore God for all He is and has done. In fact, in Jeremiah 29:13 we read, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

Where is your heart? Is it divided? Are we seeking to please self and hoping that we can please God at the same time? Or are we loving God with all our heart? This is the first and greatest command - love God with our whole heart. And yet if our hearts are full of doubt and worry then we are missing the great privilege of seeking God. We miss the time that we could be spending in fellowship exercising faith all because we are preoccupied with the need instead of with the One who can meet the need.

What do you seek? What do you spend your time pursuing? Is it God? Do you seek Him? Today, when you see a need, thank God for giving you an opportunity to seek Him!

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Seeking Richly Rewarded by Charles Spurgeon
Prayer by Leonard Ravenhill

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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