And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. - Exodus 33:18-23
In this beautiful passage, we see Moses asking to see the Lord's face. And while the Lord could not honor Moses's request for his own safety, God was honored by the fact that Moses was seeking to know God on this level. In the same way, God is honored when we seekHhis face; however, we are often too busy seeking His hand.
Sadly, we tend to be a selfish and self-centered generation, expecting the Lord to act according to our wishes. Day after day, we pepper Him with questions and requests, and while God is happy to give gifts to His children, don't you know He grows weary of us seeking His hand for more often than we seek His face? Think about it, when was the last time we went to Him in prayer, not to ask for anything, but merely to speak with Him, to be with Him, to rest in His presence? In contrast, how often do we go asking for things, whether they be needs or wants?
Let me make this clear. The Bible does say, "Ask and you shall receive," but it also says, "Draw nigh unto God." We don't get close to someone by only being in their presence long enough to ask them for things. We get close by spending time with them--talking, listening, and sometimes just being. While God does long to bless us with the desires of our hearts, he wants, even more, to be sought out for who He is rather than what He can do for us.
As I taught this to my Sunday School class on Sunday morning, the question was asked of me, "So what do we do when we have a need? Is it okay to ask God to meet that need?" Absolutely. As I said, God wants to do things for us because He loves us. But we need to balance the appeals for things that we don't have with praises for the things that we do. We need to make sure that we're spending as much time resting in God's presence as we are spouting our list of demands. By all means, ask God to meet a need, but make sure that's not the only time you're spending with God.
Now, before I close, let me show you an extra special blessing from the passage above in Exodus. We see that Moses was seeking God's face, but as God explained, it is humanly impossible for man to see God's face and live. But notice what God did do. He placed Moses in a safe place and covered him with his hand. Did you catch that? Moses sought God's face, and God gave his hand. That's the way it's supposed to work. When we seek God's face first, He will ensure that all our needs are met, and we will lack no good thing.
What are you seeking today?
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Matthew 6:33