Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. — Exodus 33:7
Seeking God is the highest and most rewarding activity one can do. In fact, we were made for it. Pastor John Piper puts it this way in a twist on the answer to the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. He writes: the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. That’s what seeking God is about; experiencing the pleasures and joys of knowing and communing with God as we pursue Him. The author of Hebrews plainly says that “God is a rewarder of those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). But it is also important to recognize that seeking God is a commitment that requires both time and effort.
Moses was one man who had a place of regular encounter with God, where he sought His face and experienced His presence. His personal altar was “far off from the camp.” A location that would have required Moses to plan ahead, set aside time and put in the effort to walk there. Have you ever noticed that it is much harder to seek God when your life is busy and you are not making space for the pursuit of God? For Moses, seeking God looked like intentionally relocating himself, setting aside significant time, saying no to other people and commitments in order to prioritize seeking God.
This did not remain only Moses’ thing, however. The verse goes on to tell us that everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside of the camp. Once others tasted God’s presence and the sweetness of His fellowship, they too went outside of the camp to seek God. Communal rhythms began to build around their corporate pursuit of the Lord. For Moses, the Israelites and for you and I, taking time and effort to seek God is no longer a burden but a delight as God Himself rewards those who seek Him.
Let’s also not forget the example of our Lord. Mark has this to tell us about Jesus’ great diligence and effort in prayer and solitude: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Waking up early in the morning to pray after a long evening of tiring ministry could not have been easy. But then again, God never promised easy. The Lord declares through the prophet Jeremiah “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). With all your heart means not haphazardly but consistently. It means not doing it halfway, but with your whole being. It means not seeking God as an afterthought, but as your chief duty.
There is fruit in the pursuit. There is a blessing for our diligence. There is a greater encounter to be had. There is more of God to be sought and found. There are more of His promises yet to be fulfilled in our lives. And there is more of God to be experienced by His children who love Him and who intentionally take the time and effort to seek Him.
Father, would You draw near to us at this very moment as we turn our hearts to You. We long for a deeper walk with You. We ask for a fresh filling of Your Spirit. Help us seek You with diligence. Remind us of the reward. Help us count the cost and seek You with all our hearts. And thank You that You have sought us first. You have loved us first. You have laid down Your life for us. Help us seek You, with our whole hearts, withholding nothing back. Amen.
Ministry Fellow at Christian Union Gloria (Harvard University)
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