Seeking and finding

“In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) – This is what Paul says to us about ourselves and the Lord.

There is, here, an echo of the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “God has planted eternity in the human heart.”

God is speaking to our hearts. He’s calling out to us. He’s calling us back to himself. He’s calling us to seek him – and find him.

Where does our seeking and finding the Lord come from? It comes from his seeking and finding us.

He puts eternity in our hearts. We begin to search for him. Our searching for him is a response to his searching for us.

As we search for him, he directs our attention away from ourselves to our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We are led to Christ. When we find Christ, we receive eternal life – “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

What is it that makes us seek for God? What is it that leads us to find him? It’s the Spirit of the Lord, working in our hearts: “No one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12).

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God is leading us to Himself …

“In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The Gospel doesn’t begin with the coming of Jesus to our world. We need to go back beyond that. We need to go back to the beginning, back to God, our Creator. The God who created us is the God who sent His Son for us. Long before the birth of Jesus, God loved us. In love, He was preparing the world for the coming of His Son. God “has set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). There is a searching for God. This has been put into our hearts by God Himself. He creates in us the need for something for more than this world can give to us. He meets our need as He leads us to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

There is more to life than life under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:1-9:10
‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might…’(9:10). ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…’(Colossians 3:23-24). These two verses seem, at first, to be saying the same thing – until we read the rest of each verse! The first is describing life ‘under the sun’(9:9): ‘in the grave where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom’. The second describes life in the Son: ‘you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward’. There is more to life than life under the sun. There is life in the Son. In everything we do, we must remember this: ‘It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving’. We are ‘working for the Lord, not for men’. ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… your labour in the Lord is not in vain’(1 Corinthians 15:58).

Ecclesiastes 9:11-10:20
‘Wisdom is better than weapons of war’(9:18). We are to seek the better way, the way of wisdom, the way of peace: ‘The wisdom that comes from heaven is… peace-loving… Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness’(James 3:18). We look back over the history of our world. We wish there had been more peace and less war. We pray for a better future – more peace, less war. We pray to ‘the God of peace’. We pray for ‘the peace of God’. We pray that God will fulfill His promise: ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet’(Philippians 4:9,7; Romans 15:33; 16:20). Let us look to ‘the Cross of Jesus’. Let us trust in ‘Christ, the Royal Master’. He leads us in His victory: ‘At the Name of Jesus, Satan’s legions flee; On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!’(Church Hymnary, 480).

Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:14
‘Fear God, and keep His commandments’(12:13). This is ‘the heart of the matter’. It’s ‘the matter of the heart’. How can we even begin to fear God and keep His commandments if our hearts are full of sin? How can our hearts be cleansed from sin? There’s only one way we can learn to ‘fear God, and keep His commandments’. We must begin by opening our hearts to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must look to Him for forgiveness – ‘I will cleanse you’. We must look to Him for a new beginning – ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you’(Ezekiel 36:26). Let our fear of the Lord be filled with the love of Jesus. Let our keeping of God’s commandments be filled with thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Let us be devoted to Christ: ‘Take my heart – it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne’(Church Hymnary, 462).

God’s salvation is permanent, complete and secure. Let us worship Him.

“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

God’s salvation
– It’s a permanent salvation: it “will endure forever”;
– It’s a complete salvation: “nothing can be added to it”;
– It’s a secure salvation: “nothing” can be “taken from it”;
– It’s a salvation which leads to worship: “so that men will revere Him.”

Living in accordance with the Gospel is the all-important thing.

Ecclesiastes 9:13-12:14; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 96:1-13

“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). There are many matters which are secondary. Living in accordance with the Gospel is the all-important thing: “We put up with anything rather than hinder the Gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12). “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4). The fear of the Lord is directly related to worshipping Him. To fear the Lord is not to cower away from Him. It is to come to Him in worship. Together with the fear of the Lord, there is rejoicing in Him (Psalm 96:11).

From my One Year Bible

Without love, everything else is nothing.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:12; 1 Corinthians 7:36-8:13; Psalm 95:1-11

“Do not be over-righteous, neither be overwise” (Ecclesiastes 7:16). This is not a protest against wisdom and righteousness. It is telling us that, in our wisdom and righteousness, we must not become proud like the Pharisees. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Without love, everything else is nothing. We must never forget this. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7-8). Where our wisdom (or knowledge) and righteousness become centred on ourselves – ‘How wise and righteous I have become’, we have closed our hearts to God. Listen to God. Learn from Him. Live for Him. Real wisdom has nothing to do with self-centredness. It’s all about learning to be Christ-centred. Real wisdom leads to true righteousness. It’s about learning to become like Jesus. We look to Him and we learn to live for Him.

From my One Year Bible

The Lord’s way is better than the world’s way.

Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12; 1 Corinthians 7:17-35; Proverbs 19:23-20:4

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
This is the world’s way. The Lord’s way is a better way. We are to “use the things of the world” without being “engrossed in them” (1 Corinthians 7:31). What we must remember is this: “The fear of the Lord leads to life; Then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23). When our relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in life, we do not get unduly anxious about how things are going, in terms of material prosperity.

From my One Year Bible