Wise Men And The Seeking Thing

christmas-background-2-1408232-m“Wise men still seek Him,” the signs say. At one time I even had those words as the title of a Christmas bulletin board in my classroom. It sounds sort of profound. And Christ centered.

But here’s the thing. In my experience, it doesn’t seem like we seek God so much as God seeks us.

First, God isn’t hiding. He has purposefully and dramatically made Himself known. That’s what the first Christmas and the ensuing thirty-tree years were all about. Jesus came to show Mankind the Father.

Secondly, people seem to be more interested in dodging and ducking and hiding from God. Or flat out denying and rejecting Him. C. S. Lewis wrote of his reluctance, his fight, actually, against God. He called Him his adversary once and wrote this of his conversion: “That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England” (Surprised by Joy).

It seems to me, the people who fall into the category of “seeker” are more apt to be hiders ducking behind the quest for the spiritual in order to avoid God and His claim on their lives. Scripture says clearly that anyone who truly seeks, finds.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:7-11)

Consequently, it seems to me the seeking process isn’t some protracted, drawn out, involved study of world religions or long nights of deep meditation. Those kinds of things are hiding tactics, more likely to obfuscate than to reveal. God has told us what we need to do to find Him: look at His Son Jesus.

Jesus said to [Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

So there’s Christmas in a nutshell. When we look at Jesus come down from Heaven, we are seeing the Father: His love for the lost, His sacrificial heart, His generosity, His mercy and grace, His forgiveness, His humility, His desire for reconciliation and peace, His goodness.

Do wise men seek Him today as they once did over two thousand years ago? Those ancient magi thought they were going to find the King of the Jews, and they did. But they also found the Creator of the world, the Redeemer of Mankind, the Friend of sinners.

Whoever seeks Jesus on those terms is bound to find Him.

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Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. Consequently, it seems to me the seeking process isn’t some protracted, drawn out, involved study of world religions or long nights of deep meditation. Those kinds of things are hiding tactics, more likely to obfuscate than to reveal.

    Maybe sometimes. But I hope that God is not unsympathetic to genuinely desperate existential wanderings, wholehearted investigation of the truth, and doubts arising from lack of confidence in one’s own ability to know and to discern.

    Also, I don’t think that Jesus meant to imply that we immediately receive what we ask for. Those who seek God will find Him, but He might hide His face during this life. He might leave us without comfort and confidence indefinately, and we may or may not have an experience of spiritual unity with God before we die. After all, God only answered Job after Job had suffered and questioned and despaired.

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    • Bainespal, C. S. Lewis isn’t the only one who has become a Christian though he seriously didn’t want to believe. Josh McDowell comes to mind. He set out to prove that the Bible wasn’t true and ended up a Christian. Lee Strobel is another who had a similar experience. All that to say, God fulfills His promises. If someone seeks, they will find.

      He makes it pretty clear in James: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And “you do not have because you do not ask.”

      So if someone is “seeking” and they are wandering year after year away from God, I tend to think their investigation is probably more along the lines of Eve’s. When Satan said, Did God really say you’d die? Eve could have gone to God and said, Do I have this right? Instead of going to the source, she investigated the fruit. It looked good, it was certainly edible, and it would make her wise. What more did she need to know?

      See, the issue isn’t whether or not a person can trust their own perceptions. We can’t. Our hearts are deceitful. We can, however, trust God’s authoritative Word. He doesn’t cloud the issues. He came to save sinners, and that’s what we all are.

      Sure, there are lots of other questions. Yes, Job had questions for God, but He never doubted that God is God. He’d settled that before he experienced all the loss and suffering. He affirmed his belief in God but needed to accept God’s sovereignty. He repented in the end of the book for acting as if he could tell God what was right and what He should do.

      God’s Word leads us to God, and seekers who want to know Him can find Him, in the here and now.

      Becky

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      • He makes it pretty clear in James: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And “you do not have because you do not ask.”

        I don’t think that’s very clear. First of all, we are not told exactly what “drawing near to God” is. More importantly, in our experience we don’t often receive what we ask for from God, or at least, we don’t seem to receive what we think we ask for from God. This leaves us wondering what it really means to receive something from God.

        At any rate, if the verse from James is to be taken literally, the Bible contradicts itself. In Gethsemane Jesus asked the Father for His burden to be taken away, but instead He yeilded to God’s will in response to an ungranted request.

        So if someone is “seeking” and they are wandering year after year away from God, I tend to think their investigation is probably more along the lines of Eve’s.

        Possibly. Another possibility is that they only appear outwardly to be wandering away. I imagine that many people have started out as nominal, hypocritical, and/or legalistic Christians, who then lost their faith and left the church, only to eventually find Christ again and return with real faith.

        Disillusionment is not necessarily a bad thing. It can lead you to reject false appearances and wordly ambition. The bad part of disillusionment is that it can also promote doubt that God really has a plan, or that God’s plan is worthwhile, or that God really does work within our flawed human understanding and our flawed human institutions.

        He affirmed his belief in God but needed to accept God’s sovereignty.

        I’ve just been studying Job, and I might disagree.

        I don’t think it’s significant that Job believed in God; he still would have believed factually in God’s existence even if he had taken his wife’s advice and cursed God. I think Job never lost faith in God’s sovereignty. However, his faith in God’s sovereignty became cold fatalism, because he lost faith in God’s goodness.

        At least, he lost faith that God would bring about good in the lives of those who trust in him. That’s very understandable, considering that there are no guarantees in life, and terrible things happen to good people all the time. Job had a happy ending, but I don’t think that happy ending was ever promised.

        Anyways, my point is that Job’s questions were not answered simply or easily, and not right away. I don’t think he ever received answers to his deep existential questions. He also never knew that Satan had caused his agony, rather than God directly.

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  2. Thank you for posting, I love your blog,I can see you are a very wise woman who continues to Seek after God.

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