With the notes of the songs I have been listening to and singing still fresh in my ears, I am surrounded by quiet. Asking God to help me quiet my thoughts and the inner voices clamouring to be heard. “Cleanse me and my thoughts Lord that I may hear you speak”. I picture myself sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary. “Be still and know that I am God .I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jesus. I am here with you”.
“You have been singing of the joy that awaits you when you pass into the new world – the new heavens and the new earth to be in My presence forever – yet there is a reluctance on your part to want to part with this world and the known – the comfort and love of those around you – you are not totally convinced of the huge joy that awaits you on the other side of the ‘divide’. In fact your thoughts stop at the divide – allow yourself to focus on Me and what I have demonstrated in the past – how I opened up the Red Sea for my people to pass through, how I opened the Jordan to allow my people to pass into the Promised Land. Remember the empty grave. I have the power, I have the plan, I am The Way through the divide – keep your eyes fixed on Me and allowing the thought of the great wedding feast of the lamb to fill you with joy and anticipation– knowing you are going to be there. Don’t cling to this world don’t stare at the divide with fear. Trust Me trust My love and grace. I am for you”.
As I pass into ch 7 of Matthew, let me share a few thoughts that seemed to be what Jesus was saying to me today. Coming to vs 7 Jesus says we should, “Ask, seek, knock and the door will be opened to you”. This spoke to me of an attitude towards God that seemed to connect with earlier thoughts expressed in the Sermon. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst.…”. 6:31 “Seek first….” This brought to mind the words of Psalm 42, “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants…… My soul thirsts…”
This speaks to me of an attitude of deep longing, of a continuous desire. So what is the desire to be for? Well it is not for mammon or treasures on this earth 6:19. It is not even for the ordinary mundane things that make up our lives, “The Father knows already what you need”. 6:25-31. 6:32, “Your Father knows you need them”.
So what should we be seeking? 5:6 speaks of ‘righteousness’ . 6:31 expands that to “His kingdom and His righteousness“. 7:7 invites the hearer to seek, with a promise that they will be heard and God will respond. In the parallel passage in Luke we read, “…How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”. Then in Psalm 42 we see the key to this search in David’s words. Three times he repeats that he is panting, thirsting and seeking God Himself, in vv 1,2.
So what did I hear Jesus say to me from these words? Firstly God wants us to know that He is available. He invites us to seek Him and in return gives the very real promise that He will hear and respond. The second thing is that, while the theme of the SOM is God’s kingdom, how the members look like, how they should behave and function, the word ‘righteousness’ sort of summarizes that. But it is not just any righteousness, it is HIS righteousness, which is the feature of the lives of the people of His kingdom. But where does that righteousness come from? Well from Him and our relationship with Him. Therefore David is right when he says He seeks God, because God is the true source of righteousness, that is where we will find it.
So where does this all spin down to? Well God is looking for those who have an attitude of longing for Him and everything that has to do with His area of reign. Can we ask for more of Him? He has already given us Himself completely ‘in Jesus’, so when we are born again we have everything of Him. What we do need is more of is a greater awareness and appreciation of Him and everything about Him that we already have. That is why Paul, for instance in Ephesians prays the we may ‘know’ His love. Experience in our hearts that which is freely available. He wants us to know Him better and He wants more of us and our love and obedience and trust.
Does that mean we should not speak to Him about all the other things on our minds? Of course not. Why, he includes “give us this day our daily bread” in His prayer. But this is a matter of priorities. On a personal level. If you have a friend and all you always talk about when you are together is yourself, your struggles and needs, where will that friendship go? So if we are to grow as Christians it makes sense to tune into God’s program and seek to be part of that, to hear what He wants of us and to speak to Him about that. In that way our friendship will grow in leaps and bounds. In return He will of course want to hear about your personal issues as well. Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how much more will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things”.
Do you have that sense of longing for Him that David describes as a deer, having fled into the mountains to escape, finds himself panting for water? If you don’t why not ask God to give it to you so you too will seek Him, His kingdom and His righteousness often and continuously.