Seek God First
by Marsha Mundy
Jesus cares for each one of us.
God gives specific directions in His Word
What is prompting you to seek God? What sort of trials and tribulations have brought you to your knees before the throne of God?
All through the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to place God first in their lives and He would take care of them.
Deuteronomy 5:7-10, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (NIV)
Time and time again, the Israelites tried to live under their own power. Each time that they turned to idols or sought to live as their pagan neighbors did, trials and tribulations would come upon them. They would cry out to God for help and He would raise up a judge, king or prophet. Those leaders who followed God's commands were given victory and the land would be peaceful while they ruled, but those who became prideful or who bowed down to other gods soon met with disaster and ruin. The cycle repeated itself numerous times. God was always faithful to his people and always answered their cries for help.
Judges 3:7 & 9, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs."
"But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised for them a deliverer..." (NIV)
What should we do in the midst of trials?
I was a young mother with a two year old son, I was a long-time member of a church, teaching Sunday School to toddlers and happily married. At age 24 my life seemed to be right on track. We had just purchased our first home, my husband had a good job, we had one son and another baby on the way. I was happy, healthy and excited about our future.
When my labor pains started, I noticed that it felt different from my first pregnancy. Although I was having pains, they didn't seem to be getting stronger or lasting longer, like I thought they should. My husband took me to the hospital and when they checked me they said I wasn't ready to deliver yet. It was 1972 and the new technology wasn't available to find out what was happening with the baby, so I just had to wait it out.
A nurse kept trying to hear the baby's heartbeat and she seemed upset with me for not cooperating and then my water broke. When I saw the nurse's reaction to my water breaking, I knew something was wrong. At 2:30 a.m. I delivered my
still-born daughter, Stephanie. The umbilical cord had wrapped itself around her neck twice as she was coming down the birth canal and choked her.
A couple days later I was sent home from the hospital with my arms aching for a baby I would never get to hold.
A time for serious seeking
That experience made me do some serious thinking about my faith.
Since my baby had never had a chance to live, there was no doubt in my mind, I knew that she was with Jesus in heaven. I didn't blame God for taking her life but I did question my own beliefs.
When the time came for me to die, was I sure that I was going to heaven? Would I really get to see my little girl? How could I be guaranteed that I would make it to heaven?
Hebrews 11:1-2, 6-7; Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)
What has brought you to the point of seriously seeking God? Some of the things that often bring us to this point include death, sickness, financial problems, divorce or separation from loved ones. It can be hard to see God's love for us in the midst of these trials, but as we seek him we discover that he is faithful, he never changes and he rewards those who earnestly seek him. God has given me the assurance that I will see my daughter in heaven when the time comes for me to die and I believe him.
When we cry out to God for help, he hears us and because he is a gracious, merciful God, he will respond. The first commandment that God gave to Moses was "You shall have no other god's before me." God wants to be number one in our hearts.
Jesus told his followers the greatest commandment, Mt. 22:37-38 (NIV) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."
Crying out to God for help
Regardless of our circumstances, God is still God and He deserves first place in our lives. God is patient with us and will wait for us to seek Him. Paul told the Christians living in Rome that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
That is a promise we can claim for ourselves today.Is it difficult for you to seek God when you are in the midst of trying times? How have you experienced God working for your good in those difficult circumstances of your life? Share a time when you have felt his love for you in an amazing way.