In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Solomon and all the people had celebrated for a week at the dedication of the temple. Solomon prays to God to accept this house, and that no matter where his people are, when they are in distress and pray towards this house, that he, God, will hear them and act. After the celebration, God appeared to Solomon at night and said that he would do as Solomon asked and that he would also choose this temple as his house of sacrifice (2 Chron. 7:12).
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When God answered Solomon’s prayer, he included this (2 Chronicles 7:14):
…then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.
The term I want to talk about is “seek my face”. Obviously, no one can see the face of God and live- God, himself, tells that to Moses in Exodus 33:20. So, if we cannot see God’s face and live, why would God tell us to seek that which will kill us?
Huh? I mean, what’s up with that, right?
The true meaning of terms used in the Bible, terms such as “seek my face”, “know my name” or “call on the name of the Lord” is something that has been misunderstood by many Gentiles for many years. Now, I don’t mean to sound snobby, but Jews know what God means when he uses these terms. They are not to be taken literally, but figuratively. We can’t see God’s face, and since no one really knows the absolute correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (the 4-letter name of God he told to Moses, יהוה), we can’t call out the name of God; at least, not do so and be sure we are pronouncing it correctly.
There are many who believe that these terms are meant to be taken literally, and we even have a group of Believers who are called (not always in a nice way) “Holy Namers”, who absolutely believe that if you do not use the name of God exactly pronounced the way they believe it is to be pronounced, then you are praying to a pagan god and the real God will not listen to you. It is so sad that their zeal for the Lord is so misplaced.
God is above and beyond human understanding, and he is also above and beyond human compassion, love, and patience. One more thing: only God can see the meaning in our hearts. He is not fooled by words or promises or even actions if they are not heartfelt and honest. He tells us, over and over through the Prophets, that he doesn’t care for the blood of bulls or goats, but that he wants obedience. God is telling us that he knows what we feel: he knows whether we are doing something to please him out of love, respect, and faithful desire to obey or just to get “points” towards salvation.
This is what true faith is, this is what real love for the Lord is- to do what we do because we want to please him.
And the way to please God is to obey the instructions he gave us, in the Torah, because he gave them to us so that we could live eternally in his presence.
To seek his face means to want to know him better. To call upon his name means to pray to him for help when we are in distress. To know his name means to understand who he is.
His “name” isn’t a bunch of letters in a particular order with a particular pronunciation- it is God, himself! His renown, his reputation, his majesty, his holiness, his trustworthiness. The “Name of the Lord” has nothing, whatsoever, to do with pronunciation, but it has everything to do with who God is, what he can do, and why we should worship and obey him.
So, nu! You want to know his name? You feel like seeking his face? Then do so by reading the Tanakh, the “Jewish” Bible. God tells us who he is, what he desires from us, and what blessings we will receive from him in the Old Covenant. Think about it: nowhere at all in the New Covenant will you find written this statement: “And God said unto (whomever), ‘Tell the people this is what the Lord, God says…'”. However, when you read Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, you will see that expression used many, many times where God gives Moses dictation to deliver to the Israelites. And he also dictates to the Prophets exactly what they are to say to the people. The Tanakh is the ONLY place in the entire Bible where we are told directly from God exactly how he wants us to worship him and treat each other, and that’s what we should do to know his name and seek his face.
After all, what have you got to lose? If you try to obey the instructions God gave in the Torah and do so from love for God, then how can you be wrong?
I have never, and probably never will understand how someone can tell you that you must use an exact name for God or the Messiah when praying in order to be saved, but if you do as God said to do, you aren’t saved.
Thank you for being here. Please “Like” this message, share it with everyone you know, and subscribe to this ministry to help it to grow. I never ask for money, just to show you what the Bible says so you can make an informed decision about where you will spend eternity.
That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!