But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)
Look – Have you ever played the game “Hide and Seek?” What is the purpose of this game? It’s simple – do not be found. If you’re really good at this game, the seeker never discovers where you are.
God does not play this game!
What’s even more amazing is that God is never the one who hides. He is always the Seeker. He even finds those who are not looking for Him (take a look at our word used in Isaiah 65:1). God is the Great Hunter, seeking out those who are lost. Jesus used this imagery in the parable of the Good Shepherd. Seeking is as close to the heart of God as you can get.
If this is true, then why does God instruct us to look for Him? For the answer, we need to investigate the verb darash. In this verse, Moses is giving his final instructions to the throng of Israel. They are about to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. He will not accompany them. He is to die in the wilderness. So, before they enter Canaan, he warns them. This verse is part of a long monologue about idolatry. They are to guard themselves against false worship. They are to remember God’s hand of deliverance and His wrath. And they are to carefully attend and search out their God. Darash is the verb that means, “to seek with great care” in order to gain understanding. This is a verb of cognitive investigation! This verse does not suggest that Israel is ignorant of God and must scour the earth to find Him. This verse says that these people already know who God is. They are now called upon to diligently attend to Him in order to gain deeper understanding of His character and commandments. This is a verb for study, meditation and obedience. There is no one hiding here. The path is plain to see and open to all. God has already accomplished the seeking. Now it is up to Israel to fill their minds and hearts with His ways.
We need a good dose of darash. Christians today are pathetically uneducated in the ways of the Lord. We have become passive believers. With the excuse, “God’s ways are not our ways,” we conduct our lives without godly due diligence. We simply don’t take the time to ask God for His direction until we run out of our own ideas. We serve the idol of human ingenuity. As a result, we die in the wilderness.
Old Testament prayer is motivated by darash. I seek God’s will. I carefully attend to it. I do not rest until I have secured it. I call out, entreat, groan and meditate until my due diligence discovers God’s agenda. Prayer does not have a fast-forward button. It doesn’t come with a short-cut key. If you don’t have the time for due diligence, don’t bother praying. You can’t find the heart of God if all you know about Him is found in a Sunday School story or a four-page pamphlet.