Seek the Word.
Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in Linglingay Christian Fellowship entitled “Seek. Do. Teach”. This is also the second part of the series on “Why the Lord’s hand was with Ezra.” You can read the 1st part of this series here.
Ezra was a well versed man in the word of God because he took the time to actually study the word of God. He was a man with a prepared heart, devoted to the study of the Scriptures. When we seek something, we look for it until we find it. We don’t “seek” if we have no intention of ever finding it. That’s why to seek the word of God actually involves spending time in reading to know the truth. This is the part where most of us are having a hard time. How many times in a day do you spend in reading the word of the Lord? How often do you seek the word of the Lord and just soak in the word of the Lord?
Do you spend enough time in the word of the God to study and read it? Or are you just too busy in life to actually take the time to read His word? We read newspapers or books regularly, but how about the word of the Lord? Isn’t His word much more important in life and eternity than the current news or self-help books? Even if you are not a preacher or teacher you are to study the word of the Lord for proper living. Every Christian should seek the word of the Lord. If you fear the Lord, you need to read His word so you’ll know how to please Him.
And when we read the word of the Lord, we shouldn’t pick on what to read or study. We should take the time to know the context and background of the verse. We can’t just open our bibles and point to the verses that we want to read. We should stop pointing to verses for the sake of feeding our ego or desires. God is more than that. If you are selective with the verses that you read, you will grow to be a shallow Christian with a shallow view of who God is and what pleases him. To prove a point, let’s look at a couple of verses that we tend to misinterpret.
Jeremiah 29:11- 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.
We usually use this verse to find comfort in difficult times. Usually we rely on this verse when there are things that are happening in our lives that we don’t understand. People often quote this verse to feed their hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams that they have set for themselves and not necessarily what God really wants for them. Yes, this brings hope but if lose our focus on God and just focus on the “plans” for us – we’re losing the greatest source of our hope. Let’s now look at the verse 12 and 13 to see the proper focus.
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.
The plans are from the Lord. The focus is on the Lord. Verse 11 is the Lord saying, I know what I am doing – you are to trust me for good or bad. In verse 12 to 13 alone we can see the “me” referring to God. It is not about us. It is not about the good plans for us but about the good plan of the Lord because He is a good God.
Matthew 18:20 – 20 for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
We use this verse to declare that God is in our midst when there is at least two people. But God is always with us no matter what. In one, two or many, He is always with us. If we’re going to look at the whole content of this verse, it is actually teaching us how to deal with sin in the church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[e] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
This means, that if we are ever faced with tough decisions like this, when we collectively agree and have good motives in our hearts, the Lord is with us on our decision. By faith, we take hold of this truth to find peace that our decision is blessed by the Lord and is correct.
Matthew 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Sometimes when we pray, we tend to ask and demand as if God should answer our prayer because of this verse. But who are we to demand from the king of Kings? Who are we to feel that our Creator owes us an answer? Now let’s look at the next set of verses.
8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
This just proves that we can ask and praise God for this privilege because it is only through what His son has done on the cross that we are able to pray and come into his presence. The next set of verse shows us the goodness of God. Yes, we can ask but the focus again is not on us but on the goodness of God. He will answer according to the goodness of His will. And His answer might be “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe.” This is only possible because of His love for us. Go ahead and ask but always remember there’s no guarantee that you will get the answer that you want. The only guarantee we can hold on to is that he will always be there to listen. And once we learn to trust Him – that becomes the answer. The answer to our prayers in not what we have prayed for but it’s knowing God more through the process of prayer.
It take discipline to study the word of God. To seek the word of the Lord takes time and effort. You need to discipline yourself to make time for it, and not just find the time. Seek the time for it. When you study his word, it’s not about just reading the verse. Take the time to actually study the background and context of it. Use other reference materials. Seek to know the truth then start applying it.
Here is the next part of this series – do the word