2Chronicles 7:14 "If My people, who are called by My name… will seek My face…"
This past January, Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, preached President Trump’s private pre-inaugural sermon entitled “When God chooses a leader”. Afterward, he appeared on Dr. Daystar TV’s “Marcus and Joni” and told Marcus Lamb that he believes God intervened in electing President Trump: “I believe He intervened for Christians in this country. I think we got a reprieve, we got a little bit longer in this country to share the Gospel … The window will close again here in America; we had better take advantage… to share the Gospel while we still have that opportunity.”
Pastor Jeffress believes God has listened and acted on behalf of America by electing this administration. Vice President Pence is one example, where he hasn’t called on human ingenuity but rather the Old Testament book of 2Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14 as his prescription to “make America great again”. Has God has intervened on America’s behalf? Let’s continue digging into Pence’s verse, this week looking at God’s third condition a nation’s believers must meet if He is to intervene: “If My people will seek My face.”
The Hebrew translation for “seek My face” means to “pursue being in God’s presence.” There are many Bible verses where believers sought God, especially King David in the Psalms and Jesus in the Gospels: “When you say, ‘Seek My face’, my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” (Psalm 27:8). “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).
But there is a word often added to the action of seeking to be with God that makes pursuing Him even more descriptive. The word is “diligent”. In Proverbs 8:17, God explains the type of people He promises will find Him: “I love those who love Me; and those who seek Me DILIGENTLY will find Me.” Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah in 600BC, God reminded those who loved Him that to find Him they must “search for Me with all your heart.” And the New Testament is not any different. Hebrews 11: 6 says “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him”.
But what does God mean by “diligence”? The word means “to whole-heartedly attend to something (in contrast to what is merely superficial)”. We can all think of someone, or something, we seek diligently everyday: our spouse, our children, money, fame. God wants Himself to be what you diligently seek.
He is so adamant on this that when He first introduces Himself to the nation of Israel, after He liberates them from slavery in Egypt, He makes diligently seeking Him part of His Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me… for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:2-6).
The name He calls Himself, “Jealous God”, is “El Qanna”. It does not mean He is what skeptics describe - some kind of neurotic self-absorbed dictator who demands your worship. “El Qanna” means He has joined into a marriage covenant with those who choose to love Him, so His jealousy is for us. It is what He says in Isaiah 62:5: “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” And Hebrews 13:5 says His jealousy is relentless: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you are married, or you desire to one day be married, don’t you long for that type of relationship? Imagine the opposite – your spouse tells you that they’ve met someone who “really understands me” and “has really given me a new sense of purpose”. And would you mind if they started spending more time with them? But don’t worry, they claim – “I still love you.” What would you say? Sounds good? No – you would be “jealous for them”. You will not share them with anyone, because marriage is exclusive – just the two of you.
It’s the same with God. This is “El Qanna”. God gets angry when someone else competes for the heart of his wife or when her heart goes away after other lovers. God, your husband, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God for you. He will not share you with anyone else. And He longs for you to “seek His face.”
So let’s go back to our question: does it look like our new administration is daily seeking God’s face? No amount of rhetoric will do. And that goes for everyone in America who claims they love Jesus Christ and seek Him, not only in church, but where it really matters – at home and out in the culture.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.