You are my portion, O LORD ;
I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, O LORD ;
teach me your decrees.
(Psalm 119:57-64, New International Version)
There is a passage that came to mind as I read the sentence above, “I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.” It is 1st Chronicles 29:9-10. There David is giving his son Solomon the plans for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The king tells his son, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” We don’t really know who wrote Psalm 119. Many assume it was David, others disagree. One thing is certain; both David and the psalmist knew the promise, “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” I wonder — do I seek the Lord with all my heart? If you know me, you know that when I lose something I go on a search until it’s found. I dig out closets, turn rooms upside down, look through every nook and cranny until I either find what I’m looking for, or come to the conclusion that whatever it is simply “unfindable”. Just before writing this, in fact, I spent a while searching my office for a book I’d misplaced. I didn’t need it right away, I just needed to know it was still here, still within reach. Certainly the Lord of heaven and earth is worthy of our more diligent searching, no? Maybe instead of looking for old books, sunken ships and Survivor immunity idols, we should be seeking the Lord with all our hearts…trusting the promise that He will be found by us.
“I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” When we find God there is always a humbling, something akin to holding a Cracker Jack ring up to the Hope diamond. We realize that we are not all we could have been, should have been, or looking back would have been. When Isaiah was in the presence of God he was filled with conviction and awe and said, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Any time we are truly confronted with the realization of God’s holiness we are humbled…at least we should be…and to the point to which both the psalmist and Isaiah were humbled–repentance. We sometimes think of repentance as that loopy dude downtown with the placard preaching, “The end is near! Repent!” We always just keep on driving, shaking our heads. But you know, they have a point don’t they? The end is near, for some of us maybe nearer than we may think. In the end, repentance is not about escaping a fiery end though, is it? No, it is bringing our lives in line with the will and Word of God. It is letting God take the reigns (not always easy for us) and turning our steps to His statutes. It’s following in the footsteps of Jesus, who will never fail to lead us to the Father of Heaven, whom we are seeking with all our hearts.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, holy and revered is Your name. Please guide us in truth, in holiness, in humility. Help all of us who seek your face to keep in step with the character and mission of Jesus. Grant us peace, wisdom, and strength for all we will face today. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.