Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11; from Psalms 105:4)
Today’s truth is lifted directly from Psalms 105:4 and lies in the chapters of the Chronicles dealing with the reign of King David. In chapter 16, the Chronicler is recounting the establishment of David’s kingdom.
The Chronicler, provides idealized versions of both David and Solomon in the first Chronicles. He is recounting history through interpreting the writings of others — drawing from the Books of Samuel, Kings, Judges, Ruth, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and others, including the Psalms. It is, some say, almost as though he wanted to paint a vivid picture of the Messianic ideal that he sought.
Given the thought of a Messianic ideal — I looked for and found theological interpretations of the words strength, seek, and face.
Force/power (strength) = a source, something that we can draw on to gain the physical capacity or emotional toughnness required to endure and carry out demanding tasks or to deal with stressful or painful situations.
Pursue (seek) = suggests a commitment to actively seeking solace and relief in Him
Manifestation = rather than defining “face” as countenance, which suggests seeing Him as we would a human, this references the mercy and divine or perfect love of God (agape) that is unconditional, unfailing and can only come from Him
On this basis, I rewrite the verse as follows: Look to the LORD and his force; pursue His manifestation (mercy, divine love) always.
In dealing with inevitable trials that come along, I often succumb to self-pity, begin to find ways of laying the blame on others rather than understanding that I am in the midst of a learning experience. I then feel parched, and as though there is nothing that will quench my thirst.
The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. (Isaiah 41:17a)
I can get the same feeling as I stumble on my walk with Him. Not only am I thirsty, but there is also often a hunger that needs to be fed.
O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalms 63:1)
Yet, He assures me there is hope. He will never forsake me, and I can take action accordingly, I can learn what each experience is trying to teach me. I can strengthen my relationship with him. I can quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger.
But I the LORD will answer them; the God of Israel, will not forsake them. (Isaiah 41:17b)
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (Matthew 6:35)
Through review of all of the blessings which have been bestowed on me — I know the capacity of His love and mercy. Thus, I just need to develop a habit of mind that will allow me to be more consistent in applying the strategy of active pursuit of his force and its manifestations.
I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. (Psalms 63:2)
The same holds true for reaching a goal of living a life that will ensure sharing in His promised rewards.
Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness; they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. (Psalms 4:1, NIV)
LORD, Let me remember that my quest for righteousness will yield tremendous rewards. If I actively employ a strategy of pursuing your force in all its manifestations — I will never go hungry, and if I believe, I will never go thirsty. Let me always remember that in my many blessings, I have seen You first as my refuge in the sanctuary and then have beheld Your power and Your glory, so this reminds me that there a ray of hope in any situation. When I am feeling insecure or lacking in confidence, let me attain the emotional toughness needed to deal with stressful or painful circumstances through Your force. When I am feeling defeated because of my doubt or impatience, let me remember that You will never forsake me, and let me seek Your mercy and love so that I can keep going until I understand what I am supposed to learn and am able to apply it. . In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN. (See Matthew 5:6; Matthew 6:35; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalms 63:1-2; Isaiah 41:17)