Seeking God's Face

By David J. Stewart

1st Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”

       There is a wonderful truth in the Old Testament about SEEKING GOD'S FACE. What does that mean? Most Christians are familiar with God's cure for a broken nation in 2nd Chronicles 7:14...

2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The solution to healing a nation is SEEKING GOD'S FACE. God promises to forgive and heal any individual, city or nation who humbles themselves in prayer, seeks God's face, and turns from their wicked ways.

What does the Bible mean by SEEKING GOD'S FACE? The answer is found in Genesis 33:10...

Genesis 33:10, “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.”

My friend, it means that God turns His face toward those with whom He is pleased.
 

Jacob And Esau

Jacob had swindled his brother Esau out of his birthright and stolen his inheritance. Now they are going to meet again after 20-years and Jacob is terrified, and for good reason (Genesis 32:7). Jacob's messengers report back that Esau has 400-men with him (no doubt ready to kill Jacob). Esau had sought Jacob's life the last time they saw each other 20-years ago. Thus, Jacob fled to go live with his uncle, Laban, for 20-years. Esau didn't know that. Jacob fled for his life, to escape Esau's anger.

But this time Jacob humbles himself greatly and uses wisdom. Jacob decides to divide his servants and gift offerings of livestock into separate droves (Genesis 32:16). This way Esau would receive these gifts and messages one drove at a time, each wave of gifts and messengers calming Esau's long-standing anger, hatred and bitterness against his once traitorous brother. It worked. By the time Jacob and Esau finally meet, Esau is calmed and turns away his anger.

Also, Jacob wrestled with the Lord in Genesis 32 and the Lord crippled Jacob for life, touching the hollow of his thigh. Genesis 32:32 says God shrank Jacob's “sinew” (tendon that connect the muscle to the bone). This is very interesting. I personally believe that when Esau saw his brother limping that it caused him to have compassion on Jacob more than anything else. God knew that. That's my opinion. It also humbles Jacob and kept him humble.

My own permanent toothache-like neck pain and peripheral neuropathy continually keep me humble. Although I've grown accustomed to it, I've never become comfortable with it and never will be able to. Pain is pain. Neck stiffness is horrible. Puffy, burning, tingling arms is weird, but I'm functional. Being a hobbyist musician, it is a double-curse (and yet blessing because I am not permanently disabled). Mostly, It drives me to focus on the things of Jesus Christ because I am daily reminded that this life will soon be over. Our afflictions motivate us to serve God more, compelling us to “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Esau tells Jacob that he doesn't need his generous gifts of livestock (Genesis 33:9). But Jacob insists and pleads with Esau to take the gifts of livestock...

Genesis 33:10, “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.”

Esau eventually accepted all the gifts (Genesis 33:11). Jacob is greatly relieved that his brother has forgiven him (and not going to kill him). Jacob says that he feels like he's seen God's face by looking upon Esau's countenance, now that Esau is no longer angry at him. Esau's wrath was appeased by Jacob's gifts, sorrow, regret and humility for the evil things Jacob had done to him 20-years earlier. This is a wonderful truth. To SEEK GOD'S FACE means that we obey God so He'll be pleased with us.

Jacob was so relieved when he saw that his offended brother wasn't going to kill him, that he said it was like I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.” Jacob gave God the glory and credited the Lord with working in Esau's heart. But moreover, we learn from Genesis 33:10 what it means to SEEK GOD'S FACE. God turns His face toward those who please Him in obedience; and He turns His face against evildoers.
 

All Things Created To Please God

The Bible teaches that God created all things to PLEASE HIM.

Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God turns His face toward those with whom He is pleased; and God likewise turns His face away from those with whom He is displeased. Psalms 27:9, “Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.”

I don't know about you, but I very much desire to have God's face toward me. I want God to be pleased with me. I was created to please Him. If I please God, then He will turn His face toward me, being pleased. Psalms 31:16, “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.”

Faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” What a precious truth! May we all strive to please God through living by faith, that He will be pleased and turn His face toward us. Faith is trusting God to keep His promises, doing as He hath commanded us, with the hope that God will fulfill His Words.

Hebrews 13:14-16, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

The Bible teaches that God is well pleased with the sacrifices of praise, doing good and communicating. The word “communicate” here is interesting and means to financial support God's work. This is evidenced by cross-referencing Hebrews 13:14 with 1st Timothy 6:18. The Greek word for “communicate” in Hebrews 13:14 is koinonia and means “partnership, that is (literally) participation, or (pecuniary) benefaction.” Pecuniary refers to money, and benefaction means to give as an act intending or showing kindness and good will. Such sacrifices are well-pleasing to God. The Bible plainly teaches that God loves a cheerful giver in 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

If you cannot give cheerfully to your church, then you are in the wrong church. It's much easier to cheerfully give money to a church which runs a faithful bus ministry, has numerous soul-winning ministries, and you can see where your money is going for the Lord. In fact, it's a great feeling to feel like a partner in God's work, which is exactly what the word “communicate” means in Hebrews 13:14, that is, “partnership.” When we give to God's work, we are God's partner in the work of Christ.
 

God Is Displeased With America Today

God is displeased with the killing of over 53,000,000 babies by abortion. God is displease with same-sex marriage. God is displeased with pornography. God is displeased with drunkenness, prostitution and casino gambling. God is displeased with SIN CITY Las Vegas. Why should God bless America? Only a total fool would sincerely ask God to bless this moral nightmare.

In 2nd Chronicles 7:14, God promised that He would forgive and heal our broken land if we'll humble ourselves in prayer, seek His face and depart from our wicked ways. These steps are all progressive. To stop praying is sinful pride and a short road to abundant wickedness in one's life. Likewise, prayer can keep us from the depths of Satan. Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Here the Bible teaches that prayer will keep us from temptation. These are wonderful Scriptures. God knew what He was talking about in 2nd Chronicles 7:14.

The Lord mentioned humility before prayer because only by pride does a person fail to pray. When we don't pray or read the Bible, we are saying, “God, I don't need your help. I can do it by myself.” And then wicked ways gradually follow over time because we are not seeking God's face through prayer.

Not enough can be said about the importance of prayer in every Christian's life. What we need in America is humility and prayer. At this precipice in American history, I honestly think that only a military invasion will humble the American people. The problem is not that our wickedness is too great, but that our pride and arrogance are too great. The sin of pride is the root of every other sin, and is equivalent to idolatry (which is placing our will above God's will).

The middle letter in the word “pride” is “i”; and it's also the middle letter in the word “sin.” Americans have too many i-problems. ...

Lord let me live from day to day,
In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

—Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

Believers live in sin when they stop seeking God's face of blessing upon their life. They stop caring. It is entirely a matter of faith. If you truly believe that there is a God Whom will keep His promises, then you'll likely want to please God and seek His face of blessing on your life. It all starts with humility and prayer. Proud people don't pray. If we don't pray, it is only because pride has crept into our heart.

The Bible teaches that a righteous (just) man falleth seven times, yet riseth up again (Proverbs 24:16). There are no sinless saints. All God expects is that we get back up and keep going by faith. Jacob made a mess of things, and paid for it dearly throughout life, but he kept going for the Lord. Just as Jacob cheated Esau, so Laban cheated Jacob. Death took from Jacob his beloved wife, Rachael. Jacob's favorite son, Joseph, was taken from him (Jacob didn't know that his 10 sons by Leah betrayed Joseph and sold him into slavery). Jacob was told that a wild animal ate Joseph, and he was handed Joseph's coat of many colors with blood all over it. Can you imagine? They might as well have stuck a gun to their father's head and pulled the trigger. Oh, how the tears will flow in Heaven on judgment day (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11).

God used their evil for good, to save millions of people alive when famine came to Egypt decades later. Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” God uses the attacks of our enemies against us for His glory and purpose, for good and not evil.

Oh, how I desire to have God's face toward me. I want God to be pleased with me. I was created to please Him. If I please God, then He will turn His face toward me. Psalms 31:16, “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.”

Faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” What a precious truth! May we all strive to please God living by faith, that He will be pleased and turn His face toward us.


"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8

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