February 24, 2010

Feb. 24: Seek his face

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By Bryce Bow, assistant basketball coach
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 27 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
What a beautiful and encouraging piece the Psalmist gives us in today’s Scripture. If you haven’t read it yet, please do!

I am confident that parts of the psalm will speak in different ways to different people. Hopefully something the Psalmist wrote can speak to you today. What part really moved you? What part jumped out? What’s the Spirit trying to teach you from the piece?

May I share with you what really tugged on my heart from the piece?

The Psalmist writes, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face.’” Did you catch that part?

Many of us often fall into a rut of seeking only God’s provision. We seek his blessings and gifts, his help and assistance, his safety, etc. We seek what he can do for us, what he can give us, what he can hand out to us. Our eyes are often fixed on, essentially, just his hand, as we demand “give me, give me, give me.”

When God instructs the Psalmist to “seek His face,” he is telling him to seek not just his blessings, but just him; to be completely and utterly content and at peace not necessarily with what God can do for him or give to him, but with just God himself.

God can seem so distant sometimes, though, can’t he? Like way up “there,” while we’re all down “here”….kind of hard to relate to in a way? That’s one of the (many) things that makes the person of Christ so special though! As he instructs Phillip in John’s gospel, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  Jesus is God incarnate, God in flesh. That’s what God’s like! Loving, forgiving, just, powerful, righteous….that’s what God’s like.

It is in relationship with him that we experience what Paul calls the “peace that transcends all understanding.” Christ even gives us a clue to this when he prays in John, saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” This is eternal life. This is what it’s all about! We were created to be in relationship with the preexistent, eternal relationship of love and community in unity that is the blessed Trinity. Woah! Read that last line again. Now, I have been to many great meals, potlucks and gatherings of community since coming to Goshen College, but this eternal banquet will undoubtedly blow them all away!

I’ll leave you with a question John Piper poses in his book God is the Gospel:

“The critical question for our generation — and every generation — is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”

May you, through true repentance, prayer and seeking, be able to answer this question with a resounding “No!! Not without Christ….”  May you come to seek his face, and not always his hand. Blessings to you and yours this Lenten season!

———-

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 27 (NRSV)
Of David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

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Comments (16)

  1. Thank you for this wonderful reflection. it is now 3:45 AM as I read this and it is just what I needed to here. Thank you, Bryce, for being Jesus to me.
    I will try to look at the Lord’s face and not be afraid.

    trish February 24, 2010 |
  2. Thank you for the insightful message.
    I shall seek the Lord for himself alone.
    For many years my seven syllable mantras have been, based on Peter’s reaction to the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount: “It’s good to be with you, Lord.”
    “May I be with you forever.”
    Seven syllables each. Check it out.

    Lenten Joy in Jesus,
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet February 24, 2010 |
  3. I so appreciate the invitation to spend time reflecting on the beauty of Christ in a time when “getting things done is” so valued! I find it critically important to do so in the midst of conflict and struggle. With all due respect to John Piper, I am unable to imagine any one of those heavenly aspects existing without Christ being present, so I am having trouble answering his question. That said, I will likely re-visit it! Thanks so much for your gift of this meditation! Blessings!

    Kathy Holsopple February 24, 2010 |
  4. Thank you for your words to start my day. There is much to keep with me throughout my day for refolection. May I desire to seek God’s face.

    Judy Stutzman February 24, 2010 |
  5. i so agree with you. on ash wednesday i went to our parish chapel for some quiet prayer. there had been much discussion amongst my family and friends about what to “do” for lent. i hadn’t settled on any particular discipline, so i engaged in an exercise my spiritual director had told me of a couple of years ago. i meditate on the image of sitting at my kitchen table with jesus, and asking my question. then i listen for his answer. this day all he said was “wait” after some time i realized that i wasn’t waiting for an answer, wait was it! my call is to not be busy during lent, but just “be” and wait for greater, deeper friendship with the lord. so now i wait.

    mary b February 24, 2010 |
  6. wow! What a thought-provoking meditation. The part that spoke to me was “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” In our culture, we see slowness as an inconvenience, or the result of weakness or inadequacy. Yet often, God asks us to wait. Thank you for sharing your insights on the text; it was a blessing!

    anna knutson February 24, 2010 |
  7. Thank you, for sharing this scripture and your thoughts with us this morning.
    Blessing to you.

    Frank and Cara Ulrich February 24, 2010 |
  8. Your comments always inspire me, Bryce. Thank you for your intense love of the Creator, which you share enthusiastically and clearly.

    Deb B February 24, 2010 |
  9. Thanks, Bruce, for reminding us to seek the Face of the One who loves us passionately. What a privilege to have the freedom to approach Him in confidence!

    Ruth February 24, 2010 |
  10. One of my favorite psalms. Sung by my daughter’s choir, it rocked my world and put me onto the Spirit in my life. Coincidentally, as a little girl, bored at Mass, I had memorized part of this psalm. It’s a touchstone piece. Thank you for the thoughts, ideas and reminders about the face of God.

    Maureen Nalezny February 24, 2010 |
  11. Thanks for your meditation. At a time when many young adults are questioning the church and even leaving, it is most refreshing to hear faith stories from
    college students and staff. Yes, I am a senior.

    Marjorie Neufeld February 24, 2010 |
  12. Thank you for a beautiful reflection; it is one even pastors need to hear.
    Joy in Jesus,
    Ann

    The Rev. Ann L. Whitaker February 24, 2010 |
  13. This message was exactly what I needed today! God is good all the time! Your passion for the word Bryce is like a bright light shining on this Campus.Christ is shining through! Awesome~Be blessed

    Jennifer Stutzman February 25, 2010 |
  14. Truly the Lord is my Shepherd who leads me at all times even in difficult days and in darkness but with a heart full of gratitude and love I shall trust Him wholeheartedly for my family members and myself even in difficult situations I will be with him and in him trusting him at all times. Praise you Jesus, thank you Lord for your gracious and loving ways never forsaking those who belong to the sheepfold and who belong to you and you alone making us aware that we are made in your precious image at all times
    belonging to you and you alone – Alleluia – shalom! you alone do I trust and seek your face now and always – Praise you Jesus now and forever!!!

    Maureen Ann Lobo February 26, 2010 |
  15. Thank you – Please get in touch with me on the email given above and I will reply whenever the need arises – Alleluia!!

    Maureen Ann Lobo

    Maureen Ann Lobo February 26, 2010 |
  16. I thought you might enjoy a portion of my journal for 2/27/10. It ties in with your devotional.

    Saw the twins today when we went to visit our older son and his family. I wish everyone could feel what our 9 month old grand-twins welcome is. They are sitting there in their “chairs” as we walk in the door, just smiling at me, at us. No whimpers or cries, just bright eyes and broad smiles. Looking at me, their concentration or eye contact does not waver; it feels like they are looking at God. I feel adored, so worthy of their gaze, so, so special.

    Reading my Lenten devotions from Goshen College directs my attention to Psalm 27.

    “Come, my heart says, seek His face!

    Your face, Lord do I seek.”

    Evan and Caleb, you have shown me a glimpse of how God might feel when we seek His face.

    Sylvia February 28, 2010 |