|A well planned and prepared feast.|
You see that's the thing with a good meal: it takes planning, time and preparation. As yesterday's lack of stew reminded me, you can't just decide to have a feast on the spur of the moment.
As a church, we've been talking in Leeds recently about seeking the face of God. We've seen that, in the Bible, seeking the face of God really means seeking God Himself. And we've seen that God promises that 'He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him' (Heb. 11:6) and that 'if you seek Him, He will be found by you' (1 Chron. 28:9).
Not only are we to seek God's face, and promised that we will find Him in His gracious presence, but the Scripture also tells us where we will find Him. The Old Testament speaks of God's face shining on His people. In those passages the shining of God's face points to His gracious presence - His presence to bless, His presence to act in strength on behalf of His people, His presence in mercy and grace, His presence to show His favour. And the Scriptures are very clear about where we find all those things - only in Jesus Christ. Ultimately God's face shines upon us in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). It's from the darkness of Calvary that God's face shines most brightly.
So, if to seek and find God's face in Christ means knowing God Himself in His gracious provision and presence, then seeking and finding God's face is a way in which we feast upon the Bread of Heaven.
Yet, we don't normally partake of his feast on the spur of the moment. Like our feasts of earthly food, feasting takes planning, time and preparation. The Scriptures teach us that seeking God requires that we 'set [our] heart and [our] soul to seek the LORD [our] God' (1 Chron. 22:19). We have to be intentional about it. We don't suddenly wake up and find ourselves seeking God. Rather, we need to consciously 'set' ourselves to seek Him. We need to plan to seek. We need to set aside time for it. We need to prepare.
The New Testament also talks about this 'setting.' ‘If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.’ (Col. 3:1-2). What are those 'things above' we're to set our minds on? They're the things where Christ is. Where is Christ? 'Sitting at the right hand of God.' That means those things are the Father and the Son themselves. We are to consciously turn our attention away from the things of this world and to God Himself.
But, how can we turn our attention to God Himself? How can we set our minds on those things which are above? How can we set our hearts and souls to seek the Lord our God?