He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah – Psalm 24:5-6, ESV
Hold fast thy need; it is the bond that holds
Thy being yet to Mine. I give it thee.
A hungering and a fainting and a pain,
Yet a God-blessing. – George MacDonald (1824-1905)
For those of you who have been following the meandering pilgrimage of Jack Lewis, the Balding Bible Study Dog (BBSD), I have an update. IT’S A MIRACLE! A bit overwrought? OK, let’s try this. I am cautiously removing the word, “Balding”, from Jack Lewis’ title. Jack has slowly begun to grow hair on the crown of his head again. I think the Bible Study Dog is relieved that people are no longer startled by his lack of hair on the crown of his head. Though Jack still has some hair problems on other parts of his body, he seems conscious of the return of his handsome appearance. I have even caught Jack Lewis posing to display his handsome features as fully as possible: ears erect, tail up, eyes alert, nose pointed up, torso stretched to full length, muscles tensed to show definition on his legs. There he stands in his noble pose!
I try to remember, when I give snacks to the BSD, what the Dog Whisperer once said: let the dog come to the food rather than placing the food in its mouth. Sometimes, Jack is lazy, but usually he is very eager to come for food. In fact, some times too eager: if you forget that, you could lose a finger! Just saying… But as a good exemplar of his breed, a breed that hasn’t had all the predator and wild bred out of it, Jack’s approach to food, to acquiring the nourishment he seeks, is, shall we say, uh. intense. First, the BSD follows his nose, eagerly sniffing the air; this tells him what is on the menu. Second, after an excited dance, he becomes motionless, fixing the human with a penetrating gaze; this is prayer, specifically supplication, asking. Third, if his prayers are not rewarded immediately, if the answer seems to be “wait,” the Bible Study Dog demonstrates the intensity of his desire by dancing around excitedly, and even barking. Don’t get me wrong: the BSD can maintain a silent, humble posture for a long time (I’ve felt his presence under my desk for over an hour while I work), if he has hope.
My point today, is a simple little point, though maybe not so little to God. It’s this: that when God says, “…seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13b, ESV), he is not only giving us necessary instruction for finding him and for realizing his value (immeasurable); YHWH, The King of Creation, the Word made flesh, is also, with great vulnerability, ‘taking his heart in his hands’ as we say, and expressing HIS dream, HIS desire. This is good news! He not only rescues, forgives, saves and accepts you; he desires to be with you. God doesn’t just barely save you and then tolerate you! I know some of us have been treated that way in significant relationships. After awhile, one begins to feel like the other would rather not see too much of me, and then maybe, I am not worth very much. God is not treating you that way. Abba Father has loved you from before the foundation of the world; Yeshua left his glory in heaven and became one of us and died an excruciating death on a cross for you. And he came to earth seeking you; Yeshua wants you to seek him.
Here is God’s dream, found in Jeremiah 29:12-13 and [annotated by me]: “Then [finally!] you will call upon me [I’ve been waiting for this, for you to realize that I am your only hope] and come [seek ME] and pray to me [we have a lot to talk about – in a good way], and I will hear you [don’t worry – this will be good]. You will seek me and find me [O happy day…], when you seek me with all your heart [THAT’S what I AM talking about! Dt. 6:5].” – Jeremiah 29:12-13, ESV
There is a movement in some churches that encourages people to love to repent, not just agreeing with God and changing directions, but to feel REALLY sorry much of the time, to never forget that we are still very sinful Christians. There are those who enjoy being harangued and ‘raked over the coals’ about their sin, as their favorite form of Christian communication. I’ve got something to say about that. I’ve never once known anyone who had the understanding of God’s desire to be with them, as I’ve sketched it above, who had a hard heart or a cold heart or a heart insensitive to the Holy Spirit placing his finger on their sin. To be sure, reverence, humility and, when convicted, repentance, are appropriate responses of Christians to their holy and majestic God.
Sometimes, like other dog owners, I break up Jack Lewis’ treats into pieces, so that I can feed them to Jack slowly over time, partly so that I can enjoy the BSD’s happiness and company a little longer. If you have ever been a parent, you know what I am talking about. I’m now eager to spend a long, leisurely time with GOD, with his Word open before me, and before we are done, he might hear me singing.
Here are a couple more verses to encourage us: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Dt. 6:5, ESV); “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23, ESV).
This post was powered by the album, “Keith Green: The Greatest Hits” (2008) by Keith Green, and the song, “Harp In My Heart” from the album, “Palanquin” (2002) by Keven Prosch.