Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Reward for Seeking Him

Leslie Basham: When you pray, is your gaze fixed on God? Or are you just focused on how He can meet your needs? 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's not enough to find the blessings of Christ, the gifts of Christ, maybe you want a changed husband or you want some other thing in your life. It's not enough to get answers to those prayers. Our seeking is after Him. Oh Lord, my heart seeks for You!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh demoss for Wednesday, October 3.

Yesterday we began hearing a message that Nancy Leigh DeMoss delivered to open the conference, True Woman '12. She described what it means to seek the Lord as your number one priority. Let’s pick that message back up. Here’s part two of, Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. 

Nancy: So, what does it look like to see the Lord above everything else in our lives? We want to get past those obstacles and hurdles.

Well, there were two women in the Scriptures who were whole-hearted seekers. They would not let anything deter them from seeking their beloved. We find one in the Old Testament and the other in the New Testament.

I want to take you briefly tonight to two passages of Scripture to look at these women. The first one is found in the Old Testament book of the Song of Solomon.

In a nutshell, the Song of Solomon is a love story. It’s a story of a bride her beloved and their love relationship.

In chapter one there’s a description of this passionate honeymoon love, but by the time we get to chapter 3, we have the first of two accounts (the other one is in chapter 5) of a breach in her relationship with her beloved.

Now, some understand this passage we are getting ready to read at the beginning of chapter 3 as the bride recounting a bad dream. Others think it's something she actually experienced. Regardless, I think it illustrates what it means to seek after the one you love. Let me read beginning in verse 1. She says:

By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him, but I did not find him. "I will rise now," I said, "And go about the city; in the streets and in the squares I will seek the one I love."

[And then for the second time she says,] I sought him, but i did not find him. The watchmen who go about the city found me; I said, "Have you seen the one I love?" Scarcely had I assed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go. (vv. 1–4)

I think we can outline just those four verses this way, in verse 1, we see she's missing something. She’s missing her beloved. And verses 1–3, she's seeking something, seeking her beloved. And then verse 4, she is finding.

Missing, seeking, finding, and it's a progression that I believe all of us can experience in our relationship with the Lord.

Let's unpack those versus for just a few moments here.

Verse 1, she realizes something is wrong, something has separated her from her beloved and she misses him. She says, "By night on my bed I sought him." The word actually in the original is not night singular, it's nights plural. Night after night after night, over a period of time, I sought the one I love.

You see, she has lost intimacy that she once experienced with her beloved. Do you know what that is like in your relationship with the Lord? If you’ve experienced at times that kind of breach, you can even be involved in spiritual activities but not experiencing the reality of His presence in your life. I know what it is to be in full-time ministry, but to have a heart that is cold, distant, and separated from my beloved.

This woman is not content, this bride is not content to be separated from the one she loves. So she begins to pursue restoration of intimacy with her beloved.

Ladies, an evidence that we love Christ, that we belong to Him, is that we seek Him. When there's that breach in the relationship, our hearts pursue reconciliation and restoration.

So where does she start searching? It says in verse 1, "By night on my bed I sought the one I love." She starts right where she is.

It's convenient, it's easy, she didn't have to go anywhere, there’s no great effort required. I think at this point this woman is concerned, but she's not yet really desperate.

But then as she starts to search from her bed, she doesn't immediately experience the restoration of the intimacy once she begins seeking. But notice, she doesn't give up. She is not willing to keep going on without him night after night after night.

So what does she do? She seeks even more earnestly. Verse 2, she says, "I will rise now."

Does it remind you of the prodigal son in the far country when it got really, really, really, really desperate, he goes, "I will rise now and go to my father." I will rise now.

She doesn't go back to sleep, she doesn't wait 'til morning. She's resolved to do whatever it takes to find him. She's finally willing to move, to get up off her bed during the night, to have her rest disturbed. She takes intentional steps to find the one she loves.

I wonder how many times God has wanted to be found by us, but we just rolled over and went back to sleep. Listen, we are not likely to find Him as long as we are unwilling to rise up out of our current circumstances and take intentional steps to seek Him.

So she goes on this intensified search. She's determined, resolved. "I'm not going to stop until I’ve found him. I'm going to keep on seeking." She goes out on this full-scale, all-out search, missing person, A.P.B. She goes to the city streets and squares and wants to check in every possible place he could be.

This is a thorough search. It's a focused search. She is not going to give up. She is not going to be deterred in her search. I think that kind of focus and intensity is required when we want to experience restored intimacy with the Lord Jesus.

It doesn't just happen. We have to be willing to turn our attention away from other competing desires and distractions so that we can turn our eyes upon Jesus, focus on Him. We can't seek the one we love while we are loving and seeking after other things that compete with His place in our lives.

So in verse 3, she inquires of others who know him. They are called the watchmen in this passage. She's not ashamed; she's not embarrassed to ask for help, to tell him that she loves him, and to say, "How can you help me find him?"

She declares her love and her longing. But as it turns out, not even they can solve her problem. You see, friends, spiritual leaders can be helpful, but ultimately we can't expect them to restore our relationship with Christ.

This bride is not satisfied to be with those watchmen, she wants him. She wants her beloved, and she refuses to give up, refuses to go back home. She is not going to stop until she has found him. So she perseveres and presses on beyond those watchmen.

Then verse 4, oh, the joy of finding. She says, "Scarcely had I passed by them when I found the one I love." Her search is rewarded. It doesn't say where or how, and at this point it doesn't really matter. But the fact is, those who seek and those who keep seeking will find.

I wonder, she says, "It's just a little bit after I passed by them." I wonder how many times we give up just short of finding Him, the one we love. "I found the one I love," she says, "I found him."

We are talking about seeking Him. She's not satisfied with anything less, anything else. It's not enough to find the blessings of Christ, the gifts of Christ. Maybe you want a changed husband or you want some other thing in your life. It's not enough to get answers to those prayers. Our seeking is after Him. Oh Lord, my heart seeks for You.

It's not enough to find sound doctrine to know more about Him. None of those things can take the place of finding Him, enjoying personal communion with Him. And so she says, having found him, "I held him, and I would not let him go."

Can you just imagine the joy of that reunion? She doesn't ever want to lose him again, so she clings more tightly and with greater fervor than she had previously.

Now, it turns out, and we are not going to go into this part, but two chapters later, once again, there's a breach, a brokenness in the relationship. So having found him, clinging to him tightly doesn't mean that you can stop pursuing. In fact, I believe from here to heaven we are going to be on a lifetime pursuit seeking the One we love; clinging to Him. And that's what this bride illustrates.

I want to take just a few moments to look at a second woman in the gospel of Luke. Luke 10. Listen as I read this passage. It will be a familiar passage to most of us.

As they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." The Lord answered her, "Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things." (vv. 38–41)

Many things. Can't you hear the Lord saying that to you? I can hear Him saying it to me. "Many distractions, Nancy, Nancy, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is necessary." Only one thing in life is absolutely necessary. What is it? "Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her." (v. 42)

Now, by any human measurement, Martha was a good woman. By modern standards, she would be considered a godly woman. After all, she was hospitable; she was serving the Lord. But self-sufficiency, busyness, distractions kept her from seeking the Lord while she was serving Him. As a result, she was left frazzled, frayed, and frustrated.

Do you ever looked in the mirror and see that looking back at you? Frazzled eyes. I do so many times; it’s because I become distracted. I'm serving the Lord, but I’m not seeking Him.

By contrast, Mary had her sights fixed on Christ. Everything else could wait. Yeah, they have a whole crew of men at the house for dinner. It could wait. In fact, Jesus could make dinner, right? He could just say the word; He can feed 5,000. Or we can feed them peanut butter and jelly or fast, everything else can wait. Nothing mattered more to Mary than seeking the Lord.

She didn't drift into that posture. It took intentionality. Mary has chosen the good portion. Mary said "no" to distractions, "no" to her iPhone, mine is buzzing crazy, like crazy up here. Somebody is tweeting. She said "no" to other good things to sit at his feet and listen to the Lord.

Here is something that struck me as I have been meditating on this whole thing of seeking the Lord. According to God's Word, we are either seeking Him, or we are forsaking Him. If we are not seeking Him, we are forsaking Him. There is no middle ground. How do I know that?

Listen to this Scripture where David said to his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9, "if you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him he will cast you off forever." A sign you are a child of God is that you seek the Lord. That's your heart.

Zephaniah 1:6 speaks of "those in Judah have turned back from following the Lord who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him." If we are not seeking the Lord and inquiring of Him, then we are turning back from following Him.

Are you seeking Him tonight? Or have you turned back from following Him? You may have experienced what it means to seek the Lord in the past. You may have had a heart to seek Him, but maybe in this season of your life your heart has become barren and dry and cold.

Are you desperate to experience restoration of His presence in your life? If so, are you willing to get honest? As that bride did when she lost fellowship with her groom?

Are you willing to acknowledge your condition and your need to the Lord to ask Him for help, ask Him to give you a heart to seek Him, ask for others around you to pray that God will give me a heart to seek the Lord?

Are you willing to say to Him, "I will rise now. I'm ready to get up from my bed. I'm willing to take whatever steps are necessary to be restored to intimacy with You. I don't want to stay in this place of separation. I want to live in union and communion with You, Lord. Please make Yourself known to me. I must have You. Nothing else matters." Can I say, "Keep on seeking?" And don't be content until you can say, "I have found the One I love."

The psalmist said it this way in Psalm chapter 27, "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I my dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple" (v. 4).

Doesn't that sound like Mary? One thing, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His word. Psalm 27 goes on to issue an invitation that I believe God is issuing to our hearts tonight.

Verse 8 of Psalm 27, here is what God says, "Seek my face." Now, in the original language, that's a plural command. God is saying to all of us in this place tonight, "Seek My face."

Y'all, as they say in the South, all of you, plural, "Seek My face." That's God's invitation to us tonight. But then the response is a very personal one. My heart says to you, your face, Lord, do I seek." It's not plural there. It's singular.

So God says to all of us, "Seek My face." And one person, the psalmist, says, "My heart says to you, oh Lord, 'Your face do I seek.'"

Will you be one who will respond tonight? Personally, "Oh Lord, I will seek Your face. I will seek Your face. I will seek Your face. I will seek Your face. Yes, Lord, yes, Lord, I will seek Your face. If nobody else in my family does, if nobody else in my church does, if nobody else in my row does, if nobody else on our bus does, oh, Lord, I will seek Your face."

To do that are you saying, "Yes, Lord"? To seek the Lord you may need to say "no" to some other things. Because it's real easy to sit in here and wave our white hankies and seek the Lord. We don't have anything else to do in here, right? But when you go to your room, you have TV, Facebook, Words with Friends, you have phones. (And maybe you need to call in and check on your kids or your mate. I understand that.)

The question is, when you have a choice, are you going to seek Him, or are you going to seek other things? Are you going to say "no" to some of those things, maybe fasting from Facebook, limiting your computer use, turn off the TV.

Whatever it takes to seek the Lord, do it, do it. Maybe it means getting up early or setting aside time. That's our most precious commodity, seeking Him takes the willingness to make those sacrifices.

What happens when we seek Him? Just a word about the rewards of those who seek Him. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, Hebrews 11 tells us. Let me read to you some of the verses that talk about the rewards:

Psalm 40:16: "May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you."

Psalm 69:32: "You who seek God let your hearts revive."

Psalm 34:10: "The young lions suffer want and hunger but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing."

Lamentations 3:25: "The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."

Jeremiah 19:13: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

What happens when you seek Him? You get joy, satisfaction, your deepest needs will be met, your heart's longings will be fulfilled. Why? Because when you seek Him, you will find Him. And all we need is found in Him. If you have Him, you have everything else that you could ever, ever need.

That's what some of the old-time, old souls used to call the beatific vision. It's the ultimate vision of seeing God.

We read about that in Revelation 21 and 22, where faith will become sight and prayer will become praise and all the seeking of the Lord we have done when He seemed so far and we couldn't seem to find Him and we had to walk by faith and not by sight, the veil will be removed, the distance will be removed. We will be with the Lord. He will dwell with us. He will be our God. We will be His people, and we will see His face.

That's the reward of seeking Him. That's the reward of seeking Him.

Leslie: The hope of that reward is motivation to seek the Lord with all our hearts every day.

About two weeks ago, Nancy Leigh DeMoss delivered that message at True Woman 12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. Seeking the Lord is a lifelong pursuit. I hope you’ll get this message on CD and go over it again. It’s the kind you can keep pulling off your shelf and review from time to time. It will help you determine whether you’re seeking the Lord with determination.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we’ll send you this two-day series, Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening on CD. Just call 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Did you know that your pastor needs your encouragement? Find out how to support this important servant in your church. Nancy will talk about it tomorrow. Now, she’s back to pray.

Nancy: You have said, oh Lord, "Seek My face." Tonight my heart says to you, “Your face, oh Lord, do I seek.” If it is your desire tonight to say, "Lord, if nobody else does, I want to seek Your face" would you join me in standing to your feet? Say, “Lord, I want to seek You. Whatever that means, whatever that looks like. Thoughtfully, I want to seek Your face."

Oh Lord, I pray for my sisters who are standing and those who maybe there’s a battle going on in their heart, and they couldn’t bring themselves, honestly, to stand before you, oh Lord. You know all our hearts. May our hearts cry out to You, "Your face, oh Lord, I will seek." Thank You for Your incredible promise that when we seek You with all of our hearts we will find You.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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