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Seeking Jesus; Finding God

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There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone--gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. -- Deuteronomy 4: 28-29 (NLT)


The key verses today are God prophesying to the nation of Israel about their eventual time in captivity in Babylon, which would not come to pass until many centuries later. Throughout the Old Testament we see Israel constantly falling out of the blessings of God through spiritual adultery. The chasing after other Gods and forsaking the one true God. The God that delivered them from the slavery they suffered in Egypt. Remember God provides us with such gripping and detailed stories of the faithlessness of Israel as a warning to us about how we need to be careful with how we live today:


These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. -- 1Corinthians 10: 11 (NLT)


We too were once slaves and the world was our Egypt. It held us in bondage to sin and it was not until God delivered us that we truly tasted the freedom He always intended for us. Like the Israelites before us however, we too can find ourselves in a state of captivity after being delivered. We too can be spiritually adulterous towards the God that purchased us with the blood of His only Son. We can bow down at the altar of mammon and worship money instead of the one true God. We can bow down to the altar of lust, pride, or anything else the world and the devil offer up to our flesh to worship. From those places however, the Holy Spirit will convict us and we too can turn back to our God and search for Him again. Not that He had ever moved but that we search for the level of intimacy we once had, maybe when we were first saved and everything seemed so alive. Maybe we are not even in a truly backslidden state as much as we are just starting to get a little colder in our walk. The years pass by and sometimes they can weigh on us. Our own interactions with other Christians can leave us feeling hurt or scarred and as a result sometimes our relationship with God can suffer. The key verses today remind us of the simplicity of finding God -- we must seek Him with all of our heart and soul.


As simple as this may sound however I think that sometimes we can fall short in our seeking. We can relegate God to a second tier status in our lives. We seek Him but maybe not quite with all of our heart and soul. Maybe we get frustrated because we think God is not hearing us when in reality we are not truly seeking Him as we ought. For a closer look at this let's examine how some people in the Bible pursued Jesus when they knew they needed Him. The first such example is when Jesus was leaving Jericho and a large crowd had started to follow Him. There was a blind man named Bartimaeus who heard that Jesus was walking by.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" "Be quiet!" many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, "Tell him to come here." So they called the blind man. "Cheer up," they said. "Come on, he's calling you!" Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. -- Mark 10: 47-51 (NLT)

Sometimes when we are seeking Jesus we need to throw decorum aside and shout out to Him beloved. Sometimes we have to drown out the noise machine around us and the critical voices we always hear. It would have been easier for Bartimaeus to give in to the rebuking crowd and keep his mouth shut. But he screamed louder -- Have mercy on me! If he had decided to remain prim and proper -- he would still be blind. If he had decided to give in to his critics -- he would still be blind. At the end of the day your relationship is with Jesus. Not your family, not your friends, not your church. I love my mother dearly but she did not die for my sins. I love my pastor dearly but he cannot cure my blindness. Only Jesus can open my eyes to see again. Only Jesus can make my ways straight. Sometimes however, I may have to raise my voice a bit higher when I am seeking Him. I might have to ignore those around me, telling me to be quiet.

The second example from the Gospel is the woman with the issue of blood. This woman suffered for twelve long years. The Bible tells us that she sought the solutions of the world and medicine only to go through all of her money and still be no closer to being healed. How many Christians can relate to this woman? Far too many I would guess. Far too many Christians struggle with conditions that can sap years away from their lives. Depression, anxiety, or physical ailments. Far too often we can turn to the world for our solutions. Solutions never to be found at the bottom of a pill box. Never to be found at the bottom of a bottle. You see the world will happily take all of your money and offer you nothing tangible in return. Pills that mask symptoms and create secondary dependencies. Alcohol to dull the pain. Therapy designed to help you cope with your problems, which means to teach you how to live with them. God doesn't want you living with your problems beloved -- He wants to take them from you! After twelve long and disappointing years this woman hears that Jesus is coming by and the Bible says she pressed through the crowd just to touch the hem of His garment because she knew if she did, she would be healed. Here was the reaction of Jesus:

"Who touched me?" Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you." But Jesus said, "Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me."   - Luke 8: 45-46 (NLT)

The beauty of Scripture! Someone deliberately touched me! When was the last time we sought after Jesus in such a deliberate manner? When was the last time we sought after Jesus with such expectation! I am amazed and saddened at how many Christians live out their Christianity with seemingly no expectation. They go to church service after church service with no expectation. Prayer vigil after prayer vigil with no expectation. That is the difference between religion and relationship. Religion can become rote and dry. When you are in a relationship however -- you expect things. When that relationship is with the Creator of the entire universe -- how high should those expectations be! Twelve years of suffering -- nothing my God cannot handle. Problem kids, troubled marriage, unfair boss, bad economy, poor doctor report -- nothing my God cannot handle. But do we seek Him? Are we pressing in through the crowd? Are we pressing in to merely touch the hem of His garment? Or are we content to continue to try and see if the world can solve our problems?

Our travels now take us to Capernaum where Jesus is again teaching and swamped by the crowds.

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