Thursday, April 22

Considering the Command to Seek the Lord

Yesterday, I posted this piece on the phrase from scripture, "No one seeks God". I guess the point of the whole post was one seeks God.

In the comment section of that piece, Mr. Standfast (aka Bob) has asked a good question in regards to that conclusion, and that's the subject of this post today. Here's Bob's question:
How does this jibe with passages like 1Chron 16:10 & 22:19, Psalms 22:26, 27:4, 105:4 and numerous other passages that command us to "seek the Lord." I've sometimes wondered about this but have not come to any definite conclusion.

I'm going to assume that there is no question as to whether the conclusion of my post yesterday is correct. I am assuming that there actually is no one who seeks God. I am also assuming that God does genuinely call (or command) people to seek Him. Bob has given the references (There are more, too!), and you can look them up if you doubt that this is so. Given these two truths then, the question becomes: why does God command something that no person actually does?

So let's start at the beginning. Let's look at where the commands of the Lord--all of them, including the one to seek the Lord--originate. Did God just sort of make them up in a moment of whimsy, or are they founded in something? I'm going to suggest that the commands are not just an arbitrary set of rules, which could then be changed if God decided to change them, but that they reflect the very constant character of God.

For instance, we know that God is truth. Truth is one of the aspects of His character. It is impossible for God to lie because His character--in this specific case, his truthfulness--is constant. The only right thing for Him to do is to also demand truthfulness from us, His creatures made in His image. He could not be consistent with His righteous character and ask any less from us.

It is similar for the command to seek God. God is holy. It's an aspect of His character; in fact, it's His overarching attribute. The only right response for a creature to that is to seek out that holy God and worship Him and serve Him only. God cannot, because He is righteous and always does what it right, command anything less of us than that. That we are all now fallen and out of that fallenness consistently refuse to do what is commanded of us doesn't make the commandment less right; and God, as the righteous truth teller that He is, must still demand that we seek Him and worship and serve Him.

So God commands us to seek Him because it really is what we ought to be doing. It is a piece of truth that He as the ultimate truth teller keeps on telling us. That we, on our own at least, as fallen beings always choose to do differently doesn't change our obligation to seek the One Who deserves our worship. Consistent failure doesn't mean the standards should be lowered, for the standards can't be lowered and still be righteous standards that reflect a righteous God with a constant character.

All this, of course, brings us to an impasse: a God who can command nothing less, and people who persistently (or intransigently might be a better word) refuse to submit to that command. We know, of course, that there is a solution to this impasse, for we know from the testimony of scripture and our own experience that there are people who find God (or who are found by Him). Let's look at the solution to that impasse tomorrow, by examining the "inner call" and the "outer call", as suggested by Tim, also in the comment section of the same post.

I hope that at least gets a bit at what you were asking, Bob. Let me know if it doesn't. Or if you disagree, have something to add, etc. I love these sorts of discussions, so don't be afraid to offend, because it's unlikely I'd be offended.