Last time we saw that prayer is seeking to find and express God’s will in specific situations. We saw also that this kind of prayer can only happen if we have first humbled ourselves. We must set ourselves aside and fall before the Lord praying for His will in whatever we are facing. Christians in America avoid the clear scriptural teaching that we must humble ourselves before God by allowing Him to cleanse and purge us in preparation for serving Him in prayer. James called this kind of prayer is called “effective prayer” (James 5:16). It is effective because it avoids the purposeless, scatter gun approach and aims at and hits the mark of God’s purpose.
God’s next word to Solomon is for the people to “seek my face.” We must become followers of Christ whose reason for existence is to seek and find the face of God in all that we do and say. But what does it mean to seek the face of God? Did not God tell Moses “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Ex. 33:20). Yet there are other times when it appeared that people were able to indirectly see God (Gen. 32:30; Isa. 6:5).
Obviously, God is speaking of seeking God’s face spiritually. We have a spirit and it has spiritual senses able to discern things in the spiritual realm. We are to seek to see God in our spirit where sin is not present. Our sinful, fallen flesh cannot see God and live. When Moses asked to see His glory, God said, “While my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” (Ex. 33:22, 23). In the flesh we are able to see the reflected glory of God but dare not see His face.
We are to seek the face of God in spirit. We are allowed to see and experience the fullness of the glory of God in our spirit. Paul wrote, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Paul spoke of the eyes of our hearts being enlightened (Eph. 1:18). This word was spoken to Christians. The apostle is saying that all Christians need to have their spiritual eyes enlightened so they can see in spirit.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus did not say He only did what He heard the Father saying. He said He only did “what he sees the Father doing.” In the Spirit, Jesus actually had eye contact with His Father at all times. What the Father did, He did likewise. His every move was a reaction to His Father. He did not act independently but was always in submission to the Father.
When the friends of Lazarus came to Him with the news of Lazarus’ sickness He was not moved with emotion but simply looked over to see what the Father was doing. He did not make the trip back to Bethany until the Father began to move days later. Talking to the Samaritan woman at the well was not culturally correct but Jesus, no doubt, spoke to her because He saw the Father doing so.
On the cross Jesus, for the only time in His earthly life, lost contact with His Father’s eyes because the Father turned away from the sin He was bearing in Himself for us. Jesus sensed the absence of His Father and cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me” Matt. 27:46). Oh that we would be so quick to cry out when we lose contact with the Father!
The writer of Hebrews explains that believers can reach a point of maturity where the senses of their spirit are trained and able to discern: “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14; NKJV). Your spiritual sense of sight can be trained by practice so that its ability to discern is stronger. Through the process of spiritual growth whereby we are learning to humble ourselves and pray, we begin to be able, like Jesus, to sense what the Father is doing and saying so we can follow Him in all things. This sense cannot be perfect in this life for “we see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12) but we can see clearly enough to follow Him.
This is what the Proverb means when it says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:6). The word translated “acknowledge” here means to know or to ascertain something by seeing. Again, it is a matter of having direct contact with God with our spiritual sense of sight. If we are able to do that, God is able to direct our paths, to straighten our journey because we are following the One who knows all things. Like Jesus, we are to see the Father so we can know what He is doing and where He is going so we can be with Him.
This is what it means to seek the face of God. It means to seek a walk in which we live our lives in His presence and allow His presence to guide us. No longer will we be moved by religious ideas or human perception but by the very presence of God which we are experiencing as we are seeking His face. We are seeking to walk with Him every day, every hour, every moment so that we can be in the center of His will, doing what He is doing instead of directing our own journey by our fallen, imperfect understanding. He uses the word “seek” because God is eternal and we never fully see His face in this life but continue to pursue Him.
Now I suppose that some of you, if you have been faithful to read this far, are saying that I am an idealistic dreamer. Many Christians see this truth as a strange notion because they have accepted an American form of Christianity that is very much unlike the one presented in scripture. In the word we see a supernatural life, led by the Holy Spirit, whereby we are able to literally see God in our spirit, sense His presence and be directed by Him. We can really be sheep following the Great Shepherd because we know His voice, we discern His presence.
Much of what is called church in America is nothing more than a well-oiled religious business with nice programs and clever people. The church is called to be a people who walk and live in the presence of Christ and allow Him to lead us into His perfect will in all things. Humbling ourselves before God so that we can pray His will leads us to the place where we are always seeking to catch His eye so we know what He is doing.
We need to be like the young son our daughter trying to learn a new skill from their father by constantly catching his eye to see if they are doing it right. Father always knows best. Seeking His face is perhaps the most exciting thing we can experience in this life.
We do not walk in this blessing because we do not know that we possess it or we simply ignore the Father when He is moving. When you are in a group and you sense the Lord going over to speak to someone, that is the Father. When you are in a gathering of God’s people and you sense the Lord speaking out a message of encouragement, it is the Father leading. When you see the Father leading you to someone to ask for forgiveness, there He is again. When you sense that deep-down sense to share Christ with someone, that is the Father.
He is always leading us and trying to catch our eye, but we simply have not learned to discern it. We need practice. That practice will sharpen and focus our spiritual sight. That’s what church life and fellowship are all about. As Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11). We are a spiritual body and we can grow together in seeking the face of God so that we are spiritually built up in Him.
John said that one day “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). That will be a wonderful day when we see Him as He is, but the seeking can begin now. We can see Him today if we seek Him. We can be led by His Spirit. If we desire to see our lives and churches revived and restored and our land healed, we must seek His face.
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