Lesson Four: God with Us When We Seek God
Primary Scripture: 1 Chronicles 28
My background music as I cooked dinner the other night was the sound of my boys and a couple neighborhood friends embroiled in a nerf-gun war that took them up and down the hallway and in and out of doors. Happy shouts and clumsy bodies ricocheted off the walls, plastic gun mechanism twanged, and foam bullets thudded into throw pillow shields.
This is part of the regular soundtrack of my life—loud, but fun.
And then, somewhat suddenly, the house got quiet. One by one, the lights clicked off and all the curtains were pulled shut. These were the sure signs of a game change—to “sardines,” a spinoff of hide-and-seek, in which one person hides and everyone else tries to find them, stealthily joining them in their hiding spot until everyone has found them and is hiding together. Sardines is a game best played in the dark, but my kids kindly left the kitchen, where I was working, as an island of light.
After about 10 minutes of relative silence had passed, only occasionally interrupted by a boy wandering through the kitchen to ask what I was fixing for dinner and whether I knew where Asher was hiding, the youngest boy, Micah, climbed up on a barstool situated within the pool of kitchen light. He began to work on his current dragon-drawing project, carefully tracing pencil lines with black permanent marker. After a few minutes, imagining the other five boys crammed together in the back of some cluttered closet, I asked him whether he was supposed to be looking for them.
Micah shrugged and said, “I can’t find them.” I laughed and mentioned that it’s nearly impossible to find someone you’re not seeking.
And that’s at least a part of the story of Solomon, isn’t it? The scriptures of Lesson Four chronicle the life of a man who, at the start of things, “loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David” (1 Kings 3:3). Solomon began by following the statutes—laws, but also patterns, for living—that had him seeking God. But as time passed (you know how it is, one day you’re doing everything right and the next day you wake up and you’ve got 700 wives), Solomon’s heart turned away (1 Kings 11:9). In spite of his father’s warning, “If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9), Solomon stopped seeking God. And it’s nearly impossible to find someone you’re not seeking.
Nearly halfway through this study of God’s promise to be with us, you are likely beginning to consider, as I have been, our role in all this. If God is with us, as God’s word insists, how can we become more aware of God’s presence? How can we actively seek the God who chooses, gladly, to be found by us?
Because it’s nearly impossible to find someone you’re not seeking.
Many of the lessons in this God’s Promise study deal with the reality of God with us through times of difficulty: God with Us in Our Uncertainty . . . in Our Discouragement . . . When We’re Powerless . . . Through Our Trials. And what comfort and strength it brings us to know that God is with us when we most feel the need for God. The story of Solomon, however, pushes us to consider the reality of God’s promise when things are going well. When life is good, God is there, too—choosing, gladly to be found by us. Do we seek God when we don’t feel the need for God?
Or are we content, like little Micah and King Solomon, to bask in the light, dangerously distracted by other, easier pursuits?
As I find myself desiring better patterns and plans for intentionally seeking God when life is going well, rather than primarily calling on God in times of difficulty, I return to David’s instructions to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9–10, “And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve him with single mind and willing heart; for the Lord searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever. Take heed now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary; be strong, and act.” Honing in on the verbs that translate to our very different time and context, I’m struck that seeking God seems to include the combination of knowing God and serving God, of both seeking sanctuary and taking action.
What do you do, regularly, that helps you know God? How do you actively serve God?
I let Micah hang with me in the light a bit longer as we brainstormed places the other boys might be hiding. And then I nudged him back into action. And less than a minute later, he discovered them crammed in and around the dryer in the laundry room. How they laughed and welcomed him! After all, they’d been waiting, gladly, to be found by him.
Amy Poling Sutherlun
Author of the 2018–2019 PW/Horizons Bible Study
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