All too often, I confess, it’s mostly a one way dialogue. I make known my requests to God and trust Him to answer in the manner and timing that best aligns to His sovereign purposes. Or, I cry out to the Lord in times of trouble believing that the God of all comfort can bring a peace that passes understanding. Or, I might simply offer praise and worship, imagining it as an offering ascending to heaven as a sweet smelling aroma, and that He receives with it delight. Whatever the nature of my prayer, I think, most often, I’m in the “me-to-Him” mode. This morning, a verse in Psalm 27 caused me to pause. If I’m reading it right, it reverses my most common approach to communion with Him . . . it’s more of a “Him-to-me” dynamic. In a sense, I get to answer God’s petition.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek My face.”
My heart says to You,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:7-8 ESV)
David believed . . . and he knew from past experiences . . . that God was His help in time of need. In the day of trouble, the songwriter was confident that the LORD would hide him in His shelter . . . conceal him under the cover of His tent . . . lift him high upon a rock (27:5). So, when the enemies of David arose, so too, the cries of David to His God also arose. I get that pattern of prayer.
But then David recalls a request from God, seek My face. In a sense, the tables are turned. You desire my benefits?, says the Lord, then desire my presence. You want Me to draw near to You? . . . then draw near to Me. You desire that I come alongside you in Your world? . . . then pursue Mine.
Spurgeon put it this way, “If we would have the Lord hear our voice, we must be careful to respond to His voice. The true heart should echo the will of God as the rocks among the Alps repeat in sweetest music the notes of the peasant’s horn.”
Not that the Lord demands a quid pro quo . . . I will, if you will. Not that we need to perform or pursue to a certain level before He will respond. Nor is it that He needs anyone on earth to seek Him in heaven. But that, because of His steadfast love and through His abundant grace, He desires that His creation might know their Creator. That those who were created for fellowship with the Divine might realize the reality of such fellowship. And that, for those in need, they might find all that they need in Him. And so, petitions the LORD, “Seek my face.”
It’s God’s desire . . . it’s His “ask” . . . it’s His petition, in a sense, that men would seek Him . . . more personally, that I would seek His face.
And my privilege and delight is for me to respond to God’s petition . . . to echo back His desire . . . for my heart to say to Him, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
By His grace . . . for His glory.