You say what?!? OK…all you Christians will be well aware of the scripture from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:7 that says, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” So by now you’re thinking I’ve gone nuts…or worse, maybe I’m preaching some kind of heresy!
Well actually I’m not. I am quoting exactly what the Bible says in this section of scripture. Verse 34 says, “…you will seek me and you will not find me; where I am you cannot come.” And because of that we must be very careful. There are a couple of lessons we need to learn here, one that the Lord is teaching us and one that Peter spoke about in one of his letters.
Let’s look at Peter’s comment first and you will understand where I am coming from. Peter received and read many of the letters of Paul and he made this comment in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
It is for this very reason that there are false teachers and false prophets. Because they twist what is written in the scriptures to suit themself. They are ignorant and unstable and cannot ever come to a knowledge of the truth.
Furthermore there are those who will listen to these people who twist the scriptures because they want to hear what they want to hear, not what the Lord is teaching them. Paul wrote abot these people in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 saying:
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.
So there are those who will twist the words and those who will happily listen because it suits them. And it is also for these same reasons that those outside the church condemn those within because there are conflicting messages. Just look at the first two paragraphs again if you doubt me. Both of these statements are in the New Testament, one saying seek and you will find and the second saying seek and you will NOT find.
How can this be? How can the Bible be so contradictory you may ask? Well I do NOT believe the Bible ever contradicts itself. The message of the Lord is pure and non-contradictory. Everything ties together perfectly…IF you understand the context and purpose of the message as given.
It is my firm belief that when ANYTHING in the Bible seems contradictory then it is not the fault of the words of God, it is because I do not yet understand what the word is talking about. THAT is when I go seeking, asking and knocking on the Lord’s door to find out what I need to know to reconcile the contradiction. And the Lord always answers when I seek, knock and ask.
Who will find God and How?
OK…so why did Jesus say to the Jews that they would seek and NOT find him? It is quite simple. They were seeking him in the wrong way. You cannot find God through any other means tan by faith, and the Jews at that time did not have faith.
The Jews, and by that I mean the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and the leaders of the people were seeking God through works of the law. They were trying to earn their righteousness by doing acts of law and not by coming to God through faith.
Even the law needed an element of faith. We saw that those who pleased God even prior to the coming of the Lord did so on the basis of faith. Think about King David, Gideon, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of these people, though all law-abiding, were attested as having pleased God through their faith.
And God even seeks those who will believe firstly that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him as it shows in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Furthermore God has put into the heart of all mankind a desire for Him and a nature that will seek him out. Whether the person acts on that hope is another question, but I am certain it is felling that is implanted in the DNA and the spirit of every person on earth. We see this mentioned in Acts 17:26-27,
26 And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation,
27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him.
It is the hope of God that everyone will seek Him to find Him. But unless they seek Him through faith, believing He exists and rewards His people, then He will not be found.
Man will try to find God through works and today we see them trying to prove the existence of God through science, but they will not and connot find Him that way. The only way to find God is by His method, which is through faith.
This presents a great challenge for the people of this world. Even more so for atheists who vehemently deny the existence of God. And yet still the offer is there for those who will seek Him, even for atheists, agnostics and every other person on earth.
What Does This Mean For You?
OK, let’s get to the bottom line in this. You need to weigh up everything you hear to ensure it is of the truth. The Lord and the apostles gave us fair warning that there will be those who twist the scriptures to gain an advantage over you, if you let them. Don’t let them!
Every word in the Bible is there for a purpose and it all aligns perfectly with everything else in the Bible when you understand the context and purpose of the scriptures. It all hangs together perectly, as it should because God is perfect and He has given us His perfect gifts.
Anytime something doesn’t seem right ot seems contradictory, check it. Don’t blindly accept what any man has to say, me included, unless or until you have confirmed that those words are in accordance with the scriptures. If you can’t work it out yourself, seek the Lord over the matter in faith by prayer. He WILL answer you when you ask, seek and knock in faith.
Remember this too. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) God will never leave you in confusion over any matter but will give you the insight you need to understand. He wants YOU to be at peace over all things, not confused and doubting. So come to him in faith and learn His ways of faith so that you will receive all the gifts He has for you.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Armin Hanisch)
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