Seeking God diligently is constant effort and work, not sporadic or casual. It dishonors God if we don’t seek him that way.
Hebrews 12:6 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
It was common for Jews to fast Wednesdays and Fridays. They didn’t eat anything from the previous evening until 3pm. Jesus said “when” you fast, indicating he expected them to fast. Fasting and praying is part of diligently seeking God.
Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Prayer was important to Jesus to have communication with God. We have to be humble to fast and pray. If we’re not humble, we’ll think we can do things on our own and in our own way. Ezra wanted to fast and pray so God would intercede to protect them as they traveled from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Ezra 8:21-23 Then I proclaimed a fast…that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us… For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God…and he was intreated of us.
Souls won’t be saved unless we diligently pray and seek God for them. The wicked won’t seek God because of pride.
Psalm10:4-6 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
In fasting and praying, we need to ask that those we pray for would convicted and their iniquity to be hateful to them.
Psalm 36:1-2 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
The devil has a roaring voice so it can be hard to discern God’s voice in hard trials. The devil seeks to devour souls. Elijah fled from Jezebel who said she was going to kill him. God sent an angel to feed and encourage him. He went into a cave. There was a great wind, an earthquake, and fire. God wasn’t in those but spoke to Elijah in a still small voice (I Kings 19:4-13).
Learn The Difference:
We hear God’s still small voice when we seek diligently: fasting and praying. God won’t push but leads us. We follow willingly.
John 10:1-5…He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd…the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow… they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
John 10:26-27 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Moses told the frightened people at the Red Sea to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13). God made a path through the sea for them. Pharaoh’s army with chariots was destroyed when the water returned. Many times God wants us to stand still when we’ve done all we know to do, then he supplies whatever is needed. God reassures but the devil will bring fear. Fear is always from the enemy and will destroy peace, causing confusion.
II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Discouragement is from the devil. If you’re down in the dumps and discouraged, it’s from the enemy. God encourages us.
Joshua 1:5-7 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land…Only be thou strong and very courageous…to do according to all the law, which Moses… commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
If something is contrary to God, we have to take God’s word above our feelings. The devil puts feelings in our mind. It’s a commandment to be encouraged and meditate on the word. We have to meditate on the word or we’ll be discouraged.
Joshua 1:8-9 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…to do according to all that is written…then thou shalt make thy way prosperous…have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither…dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee…
We’ll all have mind battles and the devil wants to discourage us. We have to diligently seek God by fasting, prayer, and meditation. We have to fight the battle to cast down imaginations (II Corinthians 10:5), cares, and things that discourage us. We’re responsible for what we meditate on. It’s hard work to replace discouraging thoughts with good thoughts, songs, and scriptures. The devil steals, kills, and destroys. He’ll try to win the battle in our mind. God isn’t in us being obsessed with situations or troubles. He wants to calm us. When we have peace, we’re calm and won’t be troubled or afraid. When God convicts, he’s specific and shows what to do. The devil condemns, says we’re all wrong and there’s no way out.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
A prophet told Jeroboam a prophesy. Jeroboam’s hand was paralyzed when he touched the altar. The prophet healed it.
I Kings 13:1-6…there came a man of God…Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord…Jeroboam heard…put forth his hand…dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him…the king…said unto the man of God, Intreat…God, and pray…man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored…
The same prophet didn’t obey what God told him at the end. When God says something, he doesn’t change his message. Even if someone claims to be a prophet, we have to believe the word if they tell us something is contrary to the word.
I Kings 13:7-10 And the king said…Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said…I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest…
I Kings 13:14-18…Art thou the man of God…from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said…Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee…For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor…go by the way that thou camest. He said…I am a prophet…an angel spake… by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him…into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)