Seek The Lord And His Strength
By Rich Carmicheal
The Herald staff was deeply blessed by the recent "Heart-Cry for Revival" conference. We praise the Lord for the stirring messages, the warm fellowship, and for the wonderful encouragement we experienced during the conference. We were renewed in our walk with the Lord and in the work He has entrusted to Herald of His Coming. We were also reminded of the significance of the hour and the great need to press on in encouraging the lost toward salvation and the church toward repentance and revival. We appreciate more than ever you dear friends who are partnering with us in the outreach of the Herald ministry through your prayers, financial support and encouragement.
Over the next few months, as the Lord enables, we look forward to sharing with you some of the Heart-Cry messages. In this issue we include material from a workshop that addressed seven principles/activities for attracting the presence of God. This workshop was led by Matt Bennett who works with a ministry at Princeton University in which God is moving powerfully. This message has stirred me personally, and led me to read and take to heart the various passages in the Bible that deal with diligently seeking the Lord.
Dear friend, the Lord is eager for us to seek Him, and He invites and calls us to seek Him: "Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near…" (Isa. 55:6). He even searches for those who will seek Him: "The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God" (Psa. 14:2).
God Rewards Those Who Seek Him
The Lord promises to respond in awesome ways to those who search wholeheartedly for Him. He is indeed "a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The greatest of His rewards toward us is the promise of Himself, His very presence with us. "‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord…" (Jer. 29:12-14). His incredible promise to us is that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (Jas. 4:8). Is it not the Lord Himself that we (and the world and the church) so desperately need?
Of course, when He draws near, He brings with Him all that He is and all that He is able to do, for His attributes, power and blessings are integral to His presence. So the rewards of seeking Him abound, including: He hears from heaven, forgives our sin and heals our land (2 Chr. 7:14); He gives rest on every side (2 Chr. 14:7; 15:15); He hears and delivers us (2 Chr. 20:6-9); He prospers us (2 Chr. 26:5; 31:21); He grants us blessing and righteousness (Psa. 24:5); He hides us in His presence in the day of trouble and lifts our heads above our enemies (Psa. 27:5-6; Zeph. 2:3); He answers us, delivers us from all of our fears, and makes us radiant (Psa. 34:5); He provides so that we do not want for any good thing (Psa. 34:10; Matt. 6:33); He thoroughly satisfies our soul (Psa. 63:5); He gives us joy (Psa. 63:7); He revives our heart (Psa. 69:32); He gives us understanding (Prov. 28:5); He has compassion on us and abundantly pardons us (Isa. 55:7); He is good to us (Lam. 3:25); He rains righteousness on us (Hos. 10:12); and He grants us life instead of judgment (Amos 5:4-6).
No wonder David sought the Lord so earnestly, thirsting and yearning for His presence (Psa. 63:1). He knew the beauty of the Lord (Psa. 27:4) and the power, glory and lovingkindness of the Lord (Psa. 63:2-3). No wonder Jehoshaphat, when facing an overwhelming enemy, turned his full attention to seek the Lord, and prayed, "O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not the God in the heavens? And are You not the ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. …We are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You" (2 Chr. 20:1-12). And no wonder Daniel, during the captivity of God’s people, gave his attention to seek the Lord and prayed, "O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action!..." (Dan. 9:18-19). No matter how great the needs are in our lives, families, churches or nations, our answer is found in the presence, power and blessing of the Lord!
In fact, it is in times of judgment, distress, affliction, failing strength and overwhelming odds when we especially need to turn toward Him. "When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you…" (Deut. 4:30-31). "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee" (Psa. 86:5).
Seek Him Wholeheartedly
Of course, we dare not think we can treat the Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth, casually. Although we can draw near to Him with confidence through the precious blood of Christ (Heb. 4:16; 10:19), we must nevertheless draw near with "a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22). He is "majestic in holiness" (Ex. 15:11), "righteous in all His ways" (Psa. 145:17) and "is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). He "searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts" (1 Chr. 28:9). Seeking Him is serious business.
The Lord says that we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our heart and soul (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13). We are to seek Him with humility (2 Chr. 7:14; Zeph. 2:3), with purity and honesty (Psa. 24:3-6), with confession and repentance of sin (2 Chr. 7:14; Isa. 55:6-7; Hos. 5:15), with prayer (Dan. 9:3), with weeping (Jer. 50:4), with trembling (Hos. 3:5), with waiting and silence (Lam. 3:25-26), with true fasting, righteousness and justice (Isa. 58:1-11), with obedience to His Word and His ways (Psa. 119:2-3), and with diligence and earnestness (Psa. 63:1; 78:34; 2 Chr. 15:15). We are also to seek Him with rejoicing, gladness and praise (Psa. 40:16), and with faith, trust and confidence in Him (Heb. 11:6; Isa. 31:1).
As we consider the conditions all around us, we see that much is at stake. We need the Lord to draw near! This is the time to turn our backs on sin, to put away distractions, to deny self, and "to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on [us]" (Hos. 10:12). He alone, through the power of His Spirit and His Word, is able to awaken hearts and bring the salvation, deliverance and revival so desperately needed.
"When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek’" (Psa. 27:8).