For the last several weeks we have explored a verse found in the book of 2nd Chronicles. The verse says “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Each week we have looked at a different aspect of the verse as a prescription for revival.
While we understand that revival belongs to God and He is not a vending machine, that is, we cannot put a quarter in and get the treat we desire out, we also know that God calls us to obedience and faithfulness. The Bible tells us in many places that our obedience and faithfulness to His commands brings reward. The reward we are seeking is the revival of the Churches in Southwest Arkansas. This week we will examine the phrase “seek my face.”
The Bible uses this phrase many times, sometimes substituting “face” for “presence”, both meaning to be in God’s company. The invitation is compelling for the child of God who can name many times in the past when God’s presence has been life altering for him or her. It is even more compelling for the person who does not yet know God and has no idea what life outside of the darkness is like. In either place, revival is the Church in a state of awe and renewed obedience in the rich and full presence of God…again.
There are many effective ways for us to seek God’s face. My two favorites that we see again and again in the Word are prayer and fasting. There really are no substitutes for these. In the history of revivals these two disciplines have been steadfast. Every time a congregation sets their hearts toward these two disciplines for any period of time, God speaks. For the sake of space today I will list two more.
The first is what I’ll call ministry outside your comfort zone. For years I’ve witnessed this scenario replay itself. A Church grows cold over the years. God begins to stir their hearts for something new in their town or somewhere else around the world. Slowly they recognize His hand in the matter and begin to join Him in His work. This is hard because His work is something new. It’s something they’ve never done before. It’s not ‘comfortable’ and they don’t know what to expect, but they obey anyway. Every time that Church will experience some sort of revival. I’ve learned to love these opportunities. They can be scary and difficult, but when God is in the work, they always lead to revival. Sometimes it takes stepping outside of the usual, planned activities to see God’s face. We can quickly get to the place where we approach God and think we know ahead of time what He is going to say or how He is going to work. We know when this happens revival will never come. We have to look around us for the new thing that God is doing and join Him if we want to experience Him in a new way.
The second way I will suggest as a means of seeking God’s face is what I call sacrificial giving, that is, giving that hurts. Sacrificial giving is willingly laying something on the table that means much to you. It is often something that God asks for and will not move mightily in your life until you surrender it. Sometimes it is something that you freely offer up as an act of worship. This kind of giving will often affect your pocket book, but not always. Often our money has a grip on our hearts. For us to give sacrificially is for us to put ourselves in a spot where God has to work or we hurt. But dollars aren’t the only things that can hurt us. Sacrificial giving can involve possessions, food, housing, jobs or even relationships. Whatever the case, the goal is not pain but glory. We are not choosing to put things on the altar just to put things on the altar. The person or Church that chooses to give sacrificially is the one who will experience God’s work and presence in a way that’ve never witnessed before. When we let go of the things that matter because God asks us to or because His worship means more to us than stuff a fire is lit in our hearts that is new and fresh. These kinds of things lead us to revival.
God says “seek my face…and I will hear…forgive…and heal” you. Are you willing to put yourself in this position of seeking Him? Are you willing to put all other pursuits aside with the goal of finding Him? King David said to his son Solomon “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” (1st Chronicles 28:9) This is an invitation to do what God had already invited Solomon to do and to do it right. God has invited us to a different task but the same pursuit of Him. Will we choose to seek Him now?