“Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:2 [NIV]).
People who seek to be authentic in their relationship to God are greatly needed in our day of stale religion and traditionalism. Many are not content to continue practicing a form of religion which has no power to impact their lives. Instead, they seek a relationship to God which will transform every part of their lives, and enable them to walk with God in a way that continually refreshes their spirit. Seeking God within the bounds of our own minds, however, will lead us to a concept of God that is significantly nearer to our own image of God, than to a correct understanding of God. In determining authenticity in one’s search for God, the criteria should not be founded on individual preferences, but on the Scriptures that God has given us.
Keeping His Statutes
The second verse of Psalm 119 includes a promise of blessing for those who keep the statutes of God and who seek him with all their heart. Authentic seeking for God must be based on a desire to keep the Word of God. We are not able to keep God’s statutes unless we know them. Knowing God’s Word well enough to keep it implies that we have searched the Scriptures, sought to understand them, and developed a strong affection which enables us to live by them. No one can keep something until they have obtained it, and we cannot keep anything in our hearts unless we have embraced it with our affections. Those who are willing to die for the Word of God are committed to preserving its doctrinal truths; those who desire to keep the Word are committed to living by its revealed truth.
No subject is more important to keep in our minds than the Word of God, yet it is not given simply that we might know it. Peter emphasized that we should “desire the sincere milk of the Word” (1 Peter 2:2), not so that we might know more, but so that we will grow more. Spurgeon insisted that “if we keep God’s testimonies they will keep us; they will keep us right in opinion, comfortable in spirit, holy in conversation, and hopeful in expectation. If they were ever worth having, and no thoughtful person will question that, then they are worth keeping; their designed effect does not come through a temporary seizure of them, but by a persevering keeping of them” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David).
Seeking His Person
Keeping God’s Word and seeking God’s person are intimately related ideas. People in our day often express their desire to find God in their own way. It is important to remember that the directions you take will have a definite impact on the destination you reach. Many people are claiming to find God, but what they are actually finding is nothing more than a product of their own desires. Well-known ministers are not helping to alleviate this problem. Much currently popular preaching emphasizes a contrived notion of a God who is nothing more than a supernatural Santa Claus interested in making sure that you get what you deserve.
Those whose primary desire is to keep God’s Word are sure to seek after God himself. When God’s Word is precious to a believer, God himself will be even more precious. All who allow the Word of God to have its full impact on their lives experience a growing knowledge of God─not simply an increased knowledge about God, but an ever growing experience of God himself. Few would doubt that the Apostle Paul had a close relationship to God, yet Paul emphasized that his greatest desire was to know God and the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10). Paul never got to a point where he was satisfied with his experience of God. These first two verses of Psalm 119 express a continually increasing desire for God. The person described is in the way, then walking in it, then finding and keeping the Word of God, and finally, seeking the Lord of the way. Spurgeon appropriately summarizes the thought of this verse:
Seeking after God signifies a desire to commune with him more closely, to follow him more fully, to enter into more perfect union with his mind and will, to promote his glory, and to realize completely all that he is to holy hearts. The blessed man has God already, and for this reason he seeks him. This may seem a contradiction: it is only a paradox.
We do not find God in the cold researches of the brain: we must seek him with the heart. Love reveals itself to love: God manifests his heart to the heart of his people. It is in vain that we endeavor to comprehend him by reason; we must apprehend him by affection. But the heart must not be divided with many objects if the Lord is to be sought by us. God is one, and we shall not know him till our heart is one.
When our whole heart seeks the holy God in Christ Jesus it has come to him of whom it is written, “as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole.”