Pastoral 2017

Preparing to Seek God

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 12 February 2017

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Examples and Consequences of Unpreparedness

If one has a petition to make before a king, one will be mindful to prepare oneself before an audience with the king. One would think through very carefully what to say, what clothes to adorn for the occasion, and the proper conduct to behave before royalties. It would be audacious to rush into the king’s palace without proper preparation. Similarly, it is inappropriate for Christians to demand God’s attention without proper preparation.

The Most High God has graciously provided ways to interact with Him. He has not saved us to leave us alone, but wants us to involve Him in all aspects of our life. We can sing praises to Him in hymns, psalms and spiritual songs, pray to Him and intercede on others’ behalf, and go before Him in worship and devotion. Preparing to seek God prepares us for the intimate interaction between God and us. Scripture is full of instances of godly saints who sought God not at the spur of the moment, but by making due preparations.

be almost impossible to prepare due to our critical, urgent circumstances. When Peter was drowning in the boisterous sea, he was utterly helpless and could only cry out, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). If we are suddenly caught in a similar manner, the Lord will be very gracious to receive us just as how Jesus reached out to Peter as He “stretched forth his hand, and caught him” (v. 31) out of the boisterous sea. Nonetheless, under normal circumstances, the failure to prepare oneself to seek God will lead to dire consequences and may lead one to do evil.

For instance, it was recorded that King Rehoboam of the Old Testament did evil because he did not prepare himself to seek God. “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14). God attributes Rehoboam’s evil doing to his lack of preparation to seek Him. Rather than being drawn to God, a Christian who is not prepared to be drawn close to God will be drawn to evil. The inclination to do evil starts with an ill-prepared heart to seek God. Also, during King Jehoshaphat’s reign, the people of Judah were unrepentant of their sins and remained in their evil ways because they had not prepared their hearts unto God. Regardless of King Jehoshaphat being a godly king (2 Chronicles 20:32), the heart condition of the people was not set aright. “Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 20:33). The Israelites did not remove the idolatrous places of worship because they did not prepare their hearts unto God, showing an unrepentant heart that is not willing to let go of harboured sins. In God’s sight, Christians who do not prepare and set the hearts aright are deemed as being “stubborn and rebellious” (Psalm 78:8). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to make preparation to seek God. How can we do that?

Meaning of the Word “Prepare

How to prepare one’s heart can be gleaned from the meaning of the Hebrew word often translated as “prepare”. It gives the idea of setting up something so as to make it firm and established. It means to make something unmoveable like the foundation of a house. It speaks of a resolve and determination to do something. Seeking God begins with an unmoveable and undeterred resolve to go before Him. No circumstances and feelings will stop a Christian who is resolved to seek God. The affairs of life must not be excuses for one not to go before God. Psalm 57:7 reflects David’s determination to seek God. The verse says, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” David did not let any difficult circumstances stop him from singing unto and praising God. Even when David’s enemies “have prepared a net” for his steps and “have digged a pit before” him (Psalm 57:6), David was resolved even in life-threatening situations to give glory unto God by singing and praising Him. In all circumstances, we must be determined to praise God rather than let situations dictate how we act.

To further reinforce the idea of preparedness, we shall look at the various examples in the Bible of people who prepared before they sought God.

Biblical Examples of Preparation

Priests washed their hands and feet in the laver of brass
The priests of the Old Testament were commanded by God to wash their hands and feet in a laver of brass filled with water before they went into the Tabernacle of the congregation or before they approached the altar of sacrifice (Exodus 30:17-21). It was mandatory for priests to have their hands and feet washed before they went into the Tabernacle, which symbolised the very presence of God. They must also wash their hands and feet before they offered animal sacrifices on the altar.

Therefore, Christians must be prepared to be cleansed of their sins when they approach God in prayer or do any of God’s work. No one should come before God or be engaged in any service unto God with any idea of keeping some secret sins. God will only accept one who has “clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4) to “ascend into the hill of the Lord” (Psalm 24:3).

God has an extremely high view of the manner His people approach Him or do His work. Any priest during Moses’ days who failed to wash his hands or feet before they went into the Tabernacle or burnt offerings would die (Exodus 30:20). It is thus of utmost importance that Christians come before God in full consecration unto holiness.

Sacrifice of Isaac
God commanded the patriarch Abraham to offer Isaac, his son, as a sacrifice to Him on Mount Moriah. It was a test designed by God for Abraham to see if he would obey God or not. It was the way that God dictated Abraham to approach Him. Despite the extreme difficulty in performing this sacrifice, Abraham made ample preparation to the best of his ability to fulfil what God required. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him (Genesis 22:3).” Abraham woke up early to make the three-day journey from Beersheba to Mount Moriah. Abraham was undeterred from making the long journey to where God wanted him to perform the sacrifice. He also prepared two young men to carry the wood for the sacrifice. Abraham wanted to make sure that the sacrifice would be carried out without any hindrances.

It is quite unlikely that any of us is required by God to go through the exact same test that Abraham went through. But we can learn from the way in which he overcame all obstacles in order to approach God. Similarly, Christians are to expect obstacles when we seek God. In spite of hindrances, let us all duly overcome them so that we may approach God.

Jesus rose up early in the morning
Himself to pray. He woke up very early in the morning and retreated to places where He could pray. Luke 1:35 says, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Waking up early and withdrawing ourselves are ways in which we can prepare ourselves to seek God. In a typical day, a person will be busy and occupied with his daily tasks. He has to handle many different issues that come his way. Rising up early sets a time apart that will free up a person to seek God. Likewise, Job had this godly resolve to rise up early and offer burnt offerings for his children (Job 1:5). Rising up early and setting oneself apart is a godly habit to adopt.

Conclusion

In the issues of life, we would often make preparations for what is to come. We will plan meticulously and prepare in anticipation of the future. We try to be as diligent as we can to prepare ourselves for what might come our way. All the more in your spiritual life, will you ready yourself to seek God?