|Word Study - Pursuing the presence of God|
James 4:8; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Genesis 32:24,25; Psalm 51:17
Our scriptures in James and Chronicles tell us that if we seek God and draw close to Him, He will seek us out and draw close to us. The words used in the original languages are identical.
This means that as we seek Him with all our heart, He will go all out to have a relationship with us. In fact, He has already gone so far as to give Himself in His Son, even to the point of death upon the cross.
This means in our drawing close to Him there must of necessity be a dying to ourselves and our own agendas.
Lay down your Agenda
As we see from our word study, these concepts of "dying" and "laying down of our own agendas", are all included in the original meanings. (see Word Study HERE...)
We also learn from the study that, 'near', 'wrestle', and 'contrite' have many similar and overlapping meanings.
Although they are not the same words, generally in the contexts they are used in, and especially in the scriptures quoted above, we see that in some instances the root meanings are similar.
For instance, to draw near, could also mean to forcefully take hold of. This is almost like wrestling.
Wrestling again, in one of its root forms, could also mean, to be crushed to powder, which is similar to contrite.
Deliberately draw close to Him
Putting it all together could mean that we should deliberately draw close to God, with perseverance, yet with a humble and tender heart towards Him.
This can be further explained in the following manner:
To successfully draw close to Him and seek His Face, we need to make a deliberate decision to move closer to Him in the Spirit.
Moving closer to something or Someone means to shorten the distance, to not be far away. We need to seek Him in a way that would almost bring us to a point of physical contact with Him.
In other words, we must seek His touch (compare the parable of the woman suffering from the issue of blood - Matthew 9:20).
This drawing closer to Him denotes a sense of urgency to be near Him. A sense of intimacy with Him. A sharing of our lives with Him and His life with us.
As we draw close to Him there should be a desire on our part to attain His Standard of Christlikeness. We should desire to be more like Him, and be conformed to His image.
Our desire must be to draw close to Him frequently, to "tread" or walk before Him often, regularly and habitually.
To draw near to Him means to follow Him and move in the same direction as He is. It implies our compliance with His will and desires, our obedience in accordance with His will, and that we closely watch and observe Him.
As we attentively observe, and show an active interest in Him, we will speak and do the same as He does (see John 5:19,20,30; 8:28; 9:4).
A Childlike attitude
We often see how small children observe their parents carefully, and copy their speech, their mannerisms, and their habits (even the bad ones).
To pursue the Lord is to "examine" Him, "scrutinize" Him, "investigate" Him, and in so doing finding out who He really is. It is a discovery of what pleases or displeases Him, and His will for us, etc..
Like an "inquisition" our actions deliberately try to discover, examine, and thoroughly question Him. During our time of "inquisition" our motive always remains our love for Him.
A truly genuine and seeking heart will desire to keep up with Him, to understand Him more, and will allow Him to be our model, our guide, our leader.
We will want to comply with Him fully, and pursue Him to the end and final outcome of our faith, which should be nothing less than our Christlikeness.
Pursue Intimacy - "in - to - me - see"
To pursue Him means striving for a more intimate relationship with Him. It implies a continuous following through until we have attained the desired result, which in this case, is not only to be close to Him but also one with Him in all we are and all we do (see John 15).
Pursuing the presence of the Lord is to seek knowledge and information about Him. This we find in His Word, His love-letter to us.
It is up to us to make the time to inquire, investigate, and examine His Word. Too often we busy ourselves with a superficial "glancing" through the Word, but from Scripture it is clear that meditation of the Word is important.
To meditate means to think upon, consider thoughtfully, give serious attention to, read or speak over and over, murmur or mutter under the breath with pleasure, ponder, imagine, study.
Our life's quest should be to search Him out. The focus of this quest must be on the One objective and goal - to be conformed to the image of the Son.
Desire one thing only...
Psalm 27:4 reads, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after... to behold the beauty of the LORD..." Verse 8 reads, "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek" (also read Philippians 3).
Looking at our foundation scriptures again, we see pressing in to God involves a wrestling, a "forceful taking hold of".
At the same time we are to be contrite, or finely crushed like powder. Many meanings could be attached to being "contrite" or "broken", but I am particularly touched by what the Lord showed me concerning the properties of fine powder.
Many of us have undoubtedly at some time or another worked with or used fine powder, such as deodorized talcum powder.
The Lord reminded me that with powder this fine, it is easy to make an "impression" or picture in it. Let me explain.
If one would take the container with the powder in one hand, and with the other hand take a coin or object with an image embellished upon it, and press it gently into the powder and then remove it carefully, one would see a perfect mirror image of the object in the powder.
How does this apply to us?
When we seek the Lord, and remain soft and pliable before Him, just as the powder would be, His image will be perfectly imprinted upon our spirit.
As long as we maintain our relationship with Him, His image will be seen in us.
The moment we neglect our relationship with Him, we will lose our gentleness and pliableness, with the result that the "powder" of our hearts will be disturbed, and the image will become distorted.
Don't let His image become distorted
Continue to press into Him with an attitude of humility, worship, and tenderness towards Him. Let us do so with a determination in our hearts, like Jacob, not to let Him go until He blesses us.
In His Love and Anointing
Jan van Rooyen
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