‘Can you see anything?’ his assistant asked as Carter’s eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness. Carter could see well enough, but he had difficulty speaking because of the dazzling array of treasure spread out before him.
For more than two thousand years, tourists, grave robbers and archaeologists had searched for the burial places of Egypt’s Pharaohs. Armed with only a few scraps of evidence, British archaeologist Howard Carter’s search, after many years, seemed doomed to failure.
But, Carter pressed through and finally unlocked an ancient Egyptian tomb. No one in the modern world had ever seen anything like it. The king’s embalmed body lay within a nest of three coffins, the inner one of solid gold. On the king’s head was a magnificent golden portrait mask and numerous pieces of jewellery lay on the body and in its wrappings.
Other rooms were crammed with statues, a chariot, weapons, chests, vases, daggers, jewels and a throne. It was the priceless tomb and treasure of King Tutankhamun, who reigned from 1352 to 1343 BC. It was 3265 years later, on 26 November 1922, that Carter made this discovery.
Howard Carter made the world’s most exciting archaeological find because he did not give up seeking. He pressed through. He persevered. A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.
God loves you. God does not force himself upon you, but he promises to reveal himself to you if you persistently seek him.
Seek God’s wisdom dailyProverbs 8:32-36
We see here a wonderful picture of what you are doing each day as you open your Bible and seek to hear from God. You are ‘watching daily at [his] door, waiting at [his] doorway’ (v.34). This is the way to life in all its fullness. This is the way to ‘receive favour from the Lord’ (v.35). It is so important it is a matter of life and death (vv.35–36).
We have seen that the wisdom of the book of Proverbs foreshadows Christ, who is the wisdom of God. It is not just a matter of learning some ‘top tips for life’, but learning from the source of wisdom himself.
Seeking God requires discipline and patience – you have to learn to wait on God. You can miss out if you are in too much of a hurry.
Lord, thank you that when I find you I find life. Help me to seek you daily, to wait patiently for you and to listen to your instructions.
Seek God’s Spirit persistentlyLuke 11:5-32
Jesus encourages you not to be put off easily. He tells a story to show the power of ‘persistence’ (v.8, AMP) in even imperfect human relationships (vv.5–8).
He then goes on to explain how persistence is just as important in your relationship with God. ‘Keep on asking... keep on seeking... keep on knocking... For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened’ (vv.9–10, AMP).
Jesus particularly relates this to receiving the Holy Spirit (v.13). Keep on seeking for more of the Holy Spirit and his wisdom and power in your life.
Jesus deals with some of the principal difficulties you may have in receiving from God.
People have many doubts in this whole area. They wonder, ‘If I ask will I receive?’ Jesus says simply: ‘I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you’ (v.9).
Jesus must have seen that they were a little sceptical because he repeats it in a different way: ‘Keep on seeking and you will find.’ And again, he says a third time: ‘Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.’
He knows human nature so he goes on a fourth time: ‘For everyone who asks receives’ (v.10). They are not convinced so he says it a fifth time: ‘Everyone who keeps on seeking finds.’ Again a sixth time: ‘To everyone who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened.’
Why does he say it six times? Because he knows our tendency to doubt. You may find it very difficult to believe that God would give you anything – let alone something as wonderful as his Holy Spirit and the gifts that come from the Spirit.
Even if you have cleared the first hurdle of doubt, you may trip up on the next hurdle of fear. The fear is about what you will receive. Will it be something good?
Jesus uses the analogy of a human father. If a child asks for a fish, no father would give them a snake. If a child asks for an egg, no father would give them a scorpion (vv.11–12). It is unthinkable that we would treat our children like that.
Jesus goes on to say that in comparison with God we are evil! If we would not treat our children like that, it is inconceivable that God would treat us like that. God will not let you down. If you ask for the Holy Spirit and all the wonderful gifts he brings, that is exactly what you will receive (v.13).
Of course, it is important to ask for forgiveness and turn your back on all that you know is wrong. However, even after you have done that, you may have a vague feeling of unworthiness and inadequacy. You may not believe that God would give you anything.
It is sometimes easier to believe that he will give gifts to very advanced Christians, but not to us. But Jesus does not say, ‘How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all very advanced Christians.’ He says, ‘How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (v.13).
The second part of the passage teaches us to make sure we are seeking the right things. Some people were seeking, ‘for a sign from heaven’ (v.16). These same people were attributing the work that Jesus was doing through the Holy Spirit to the devil (v.15).
Jesus points out that the devil does not drive out demons (vv.17–20) as Jesus did. Then he tells them not to seek ‘signs’. The only sign we need is the sign of the resurrection (vv.29–30). This is the sign that Jesus is greater than both Solomon and Jonah (vv.31–32).
Don’t seek the wrong things. But never give up seeking God, his kingdom, his righteousness and his Holy Spirit.
Lord, today I ask you to refill me with the love, power and wisdom that come from your Spirit.
Seek God’s presence wholeheartedlyDeuteronomy 4:15-5:33
You can have a personal relationship with God. God says to his people, ‘To you it was shown, that you might realise and have personal knowledge that the Lord is God’ (4:35, AMP).
Moses tells the people of God that they will be scattered among the nations (v.27). But he said, ‘If from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul’ (v.29).
We see this same emphasis on our relationship with God at the start of the Ten Commandments. We live in a world that thinks the only thing that matters is how we relate to other people. How we relate to others is hugely important and it is the subject of commandments six to ten (5:16–21). However, there is something even more important than how you relate to others. Your relationship with God is the most important aspect of your life.
It is out of this relationship that your love for others should flow. God is not an optional extra in your life. Moses says, ‘The Lord your God is a consuming fire’ (4:24). He loves you. He chose you and wants to bless you with his presence (v.37). He is a ‘merciful God’ (v.31). He has set you free from captivity, as he freed the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’ (5:6).
It is in this context that he tells you to put your relationship with him above everything else (commandments one to four, vv.6–15). The next priority is your relationships in the family (v.16). Then your relationship with others (commandments six to nine, vv.17–20). Finally, commandment number ten addresses your thought-life (v.21).
Moses tells the people to ‘listen’ to these instructions, ‘learn them’, ‘live them’ (v.1, MSG). Like Howard Carter, press through. Seek God daily, persistently and wholeheartedly; you will find life in all its fullness, and it will transform the way that you love and serve others.
Lord, I seek your presence today wholeheartedly. Help me to experience personally your love and great strength, to listen to your commandments, to obey them and to live under your favour.
‘Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always.’
I find it easy to be frightened of the wrong things (which in my case are great heights, snakes, snarling dogs and violent people). But the right sort of fear (awesome reverence) of our all-powerful God is good. I need to do more revering of our great God to keep everything else in the right perspective. I like the next part of the verse: ‘so that it might go well with them and their children forever!’ (v.29b).
Verse of the Day
‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ (Luke 11:9).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.