But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Once again, I am late on this post–and it might become more of a Monday post than a Sunday post. 🙂 My stomach was so sick yesterday that I lay in bed most of the day. I am much better today, only tired, so I cleaned up the kitchen and am now trying to get my brain to function again.
Last week, I mentioned that many people will cover verses 5 and 6 together, but it was too much for a simple blog post. If you would want a much deeper study of these two verses, there is a sermon of John MacArthur that is an excellent expository message. I have studied and used some of his message in this post.
Verse 6 is a critical verse in this whole chapter. This verse is applicable to every person of faith who is mentioned in chapter 11, and it should be able to be said of every person who claims to be a Christian. It states at the beginning that if a person wants to please God, he must have faith in God, and then it states two key aspects of this faith: first, that he “must believe that He is;” and secondly, that God will reward “them that diligently seek Him.” So what do these two aspects entail?
“for he that cometh to God must believe that he is”
We know that belief is not enough–James 2:19 says that the devils even believe and tremble. Many people through the centuries have believed that there is a god, or many gods to be worshipped. We must believe that He is–that He is the I AM THAT I AM. He is the living God who is the Creator of all things who also wants a relationship with us. And if we believe that and have a saving faith in who He is and what His Son Jesus has done for us on the cross, then that will please Him. It is only faith in Him and what He has done for us that will save us, not our works or how many good things we do. (Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)
“that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”
This is the second step of faith that pleases God. It is not enough to just believe that God is. We must also believe that God is a moral God who will reward the righteous who come to Him. Enoch diligently sought after the Lord, walked with Him, and was rewarded by being taken to heaven! Even though we will not be rewarded in the same way, God will reward those who diligently seek after Him. When we seek after Him and come to Him in faith, He will reward us by saving us–by making us righteous. Then the rewards will keep coming as He gives the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23) and many other blessings such as His comfort and peace.
For me, I have already done the first step. That step is done once–I trusted in Christ as a little girl. I realized that I was a sinner as Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I knew that I deserved to pay the penalty for sin as God could not let sin come into heaven. (Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.”) However, I accepted the “gift of God” that was “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). I prayed and asked Christ to forgive me of my sins as I recognized that He had died on the cross for those sins. If a person has truly believed in the God who can save, then they will have a new heart and a new life that has the desire to seek after God. And this seeking after God will be a habitual practice! That is why Enoch pleased God–every single day for 300 years, Enoch sought after God! He diligently sought after God. There are many verses that have to deal with seeking after God. This week, like last week, I will put 1-2 verses a day on our Facebook page and discuss it briefly. At the end of the week, I will try to update this page and put all the verse discussions on it. (I have done this to Hebrews 11:5–Enoch.)
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
This is an encouraging verse to me, because in context, Moses is speaking to the Israelites and telling them that they will reject God and turn to idols. Then God will “scatter them among the nations” (v. 27); but even then, if they would repent and seek the Lord with all their heart, He would restore them. They would find Him. And how often do I wander away from the Lord–reject something I know I should do? Put something before God in my life, so that I have my own idols? Too often! Yet if I turn to Him and repent and seek Him with all my heart (and He does know my heart!), He promises that I will find Him!
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
David is giving Solomon some of his last directives before he dies, so these are very important words to David and Solomon. David does not tell Solomon how to run the land or palace, but instead he first gives him a command: to know God and to serve Him. We have to know God before we can serve Him. How? Through His Word. It is so important for all of us who call ourselves Christians to get into the Word! And then when we truly know our Savior, we will serve Him with a “perfect heart”, or a heart that is upright and sincere, and with a “willing heart”, or cheerfully out of love. David warns Solomon that God will know his heart–God will not be fooled. Then he gives Solomon a promise that if he seeks after God that he will find God; however, he ends with the warning that if Solomon forsakes God that God will cast him off for ever. We know David was a man after God’s own heart. What an example to me to encourage my children with my life and with my words to know God and to follow and serve Him with an cheerful, upright heart. They need to see my example of working cheerfully, but I also need them to learn to help around the house without complaining and to help others cheerfully so that one day they will serve God cheerfully. I am failing in this area. My children often complain when they help. Please pray for me to be a cheerful example and to turn to God for wisdom on how to handle ingratitude and complaining spirits.
Psalm 119:10: With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
- “with my whole heart!” I can’t say that! What an amazing statement. But I want it to be with my whole heart that I seek after God. So again, I need to take time every day to slow down, get into God’s Word, and meditate on it. That’s the desire I should have: to seek after God wholeheartedly. We seek what we love! If it is sports that is loved, then it will be pursued. If it is money that is loved, then it will be the highest priority. If it is God Who is loved, then He will be sought after–every day like Enoch did and wholeheartedly like David’s example. Then we see how God enables us when we seek Him–He will help us to keep His commandments. Can we do this in our own strength? NO! But when we love Him and seek after Him, He will give us the power to do what is right. And then He will get the glory!
Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
- What a wonderful promise! God will never forsake me! I have put my trust in Him, and He will always hold me in the palm of His hand. When it seems like everyone else has forsaken us; we need never be discouraged, because God is with us at all times.
- Psalm 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
- Look how quick the obedient response was to God’s request/command. The psalmist heard God’s voice and was sensitive and obedient to it. Do I hear God’s voice? Not audibly, but when I read His Word and talk to Him in prayer, do I sense His guiding? Do I feel the Holy Spirit throughout the day directing me in my responses, in my actions? Do I immediately respond or do I do what I want to do? Do I act selfishly? Let me be like the psalmist who answered immediately without debate–I will!! I will seek your face, because I want to be like you! I want to know you! I want to please you!!
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
“Those that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity shall be beloved of him with a peculiar distinguishing love: he will love them and manifest himself to them. 2. They shall be happy in the success of their enquiries after him: “Those that seek me early, seek an acquaintance with me and an interest in me, seek me early, that is, seek me earnestly, seek me first before any thing else, . . . they shall find what they seek.’’ Christ shall be theirs, and they shall be his. He never said, Seek in vain.” So I like how he says seeking God early means to seek Him earnestly, first before anything else–He is our priority. I think it’s easy to almost get a sense of relief if we read our Bible in the morning, and think we did our “duty.” Whew, now I’m done! sort of feeling. No–we seek Him earnestly before other things. He is our priority. Then He will make sure we find Him. It’s not really like Hide and Go seek, where you may find the person, you may not. We put Him first in our life, and He will reveal Himself to us!
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
- God is full of love and mercy, and will pardon all who come to Him. He will never turn any away from Him who turn to Him. But we have a responsibility–to seek Him! Again Matthew Henry says, “There is a day coming when he will be afar off, and will not be found, when the day of his patience is over, and his Spirit will strive no more. There may come such a time in this life, when the heart is incurably hardened; it is certain that at death and judgment the door will be shut, (Luke 16:26, 13:25-26.) Mercy is now offered, but then judgment without mercy will take place. Let them repent and reform, and their sins shall be pardoned.”
Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
- Did you notice how many of these verses say “with all your heart” or “with my whole heart.” Maybe it is because God knows how we are so ready to give Him only a part of our heart, and feel okay. Like He should be happy because we threw Him a crumb. We did something for Him, now we can go do what we want. But here He says, I want all of you–if you give me your all, you will find Me! Do I really want to find Him? Then I will search for Him–with my whole heart! Again my whole heart has the idea of searching in sincerity and uprightness and with vigour and fervency, putting forth all that is within us in prayer. (Henry)
Lamentations 3:24-25 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
- God should be my portion–whom I wait for, all I need. I will hope in Him, as all others may fail me; again, He is enough. When we trust in Him or have faith in Him, He will reward us as He is good to those who wait for Him. He is good to all, but He shows His goodness in a special way to those who will wait through the hard times believing in God’s promises. While we wait, we need to seek Him in prayer, seeking Him with our whole soul. If we do not seek, we will not find Him.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- “First” is a key word. We have discussed what seek means–to look for/to dwell on. It is making God “the object of supreme choice and pursuit.” Then, of course, “first” is to seek Him above all else. It’s an easy verse to quote, yet hard work to do in our busy lives. To keep Him first everyday means a priority change for many and a reality check for some. Is my laundry that important? Keep the computer off for a while. I need to get my daily feeding time from God, then I can do my other duties as He is first!
- Acts 17:26-27 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
- God made us all; He determined the nations and where everyone would live. He has showered all with His blessings and mercies. Why? so that we would seek Him! He is not hard to find! We just need to come to Him believing that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.