SEEK NOT YOUR OWN!

4th of the 8th month 2016/2017

Shalom,

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:24 “Let no one seek his own, but each one that of the other.

These words of Sha’ul gripped me this week as I meditated upon the topic of ‘seeking’ and the question that we often need to be asking ourselves, ‘What are you seeking?

Sha’ul teaches us a great deal about our responsibility that we have toward each other as a body of Messiah and the need to guard against selfishness and pride as we are to do that which builds others up.

Romiyim/Romans 15:2 “Let each one of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up.

What Sha’ul constantly reminds us of, through his various letters, is that we are to be mindful of others and make the necessary effort in seeking out the interests of others.

Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:4 “Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

In this letter to the set-apart ones in Philippi Sha’ul continues on from these words the vital lessons that we are able to learn from the humility of Messiah and be encouraged and equipped to have the same mind. Having said that, we take note: that when one is not truly seeking the interests of others it may be a warning sign of there being some form of pride being present in one’s life. Our ability to love our neighbour as ourselves involves us seeking out the interests of our neighbour and not just our own. In order to do that effectively and properly we need to make sure that we are seeking first יהוה and His Kingdom and when we find that one is not seeking the interest of others it may be a warning sign that a proper seeking of יהוה is not taking place due to one seeking only their own interests above all!

In a message called, ‘SEEK NOT YOUR OWN!’ I want us to take a closer look at the concept of ‘seeking’ and what that entails and to do that I will be digging a little deeper into the various Hebrew and Greek words that we have for seek in order for us to grasp the vital need and importance for us to be properly seeking יהוה FIRST!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the reign of Elohim, and His righteousness, and all these matters shall be added to you.

These words of our Master are words that most are very familiar with, as it is here that He tells us not to worry!

If this is the case then why is it that many who have heard these words still find themselves worrying about food, drink and clothing? The Greek word that is translated as ‘worry’ in Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:31 & 34 is μεριμνάω merimnaō – Strong’s G3309 which means, to be anxious, care for, worry and comes from the root μέριμνα merimna – Strong’s G3308 which means, cares, worries, anxieties. יהושע tells us in the Parable of the sower and the seed, that ‘the worries/cares of this life choke out the word’, and this is exactly what happens to the seed sown among thorns, which pictures for us those who hear the Word, but the worries of life choke it out! This Greek word can also render the understanding of, being pulled in different directions! Have you ever felt like you are being pulled in so many directions that you do not know which way to turn? As we consider the picture of one being pulled in different directions by so many worries and anxieties or cares of this world we realise that in order to be steadfast and firm and not be pulled in any conflicting direction that deflects one from a walk of set-apartness in complete faith, we need to have a firm grip on the truth. A firm grip on the Truth will assure that one is not pulled in any type of tug-of-war match with fleshly lusts that wrestle against the life that we have in the Master! When one is being pulled in various directions then the ability to be seeking the interests of others will be impossible and will simply reveal that a proper seeking of the reign of Elohim and His righteousness is severely lacking and most likely non-existent, as all that is being sought out is one’s own interests in order to survive, due to fear and anxiety that chokes the life of the Word out!

Sha’ul, in his letter to the set-apart ones in Philippi, he tells them how he would send Timotiyos to them as Timotiyos had proved himself as a faithful son who had the interests of other at heart, whereas he says of others, the following:

Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:21 “For all seek their own interests, not those of Messiah יהושע.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘seek’ here in Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:21, Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:24 and Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:33 is ζητέω zēteō – Strong’s G2212 which means, ‘to seek, inquire, try to obtain, strive after, to aim at, crave for, and to seek in order to find out by thinking, meditating and reasoning’.

Pretty straight forward I would say! To seek takes diligent effort! The question remains, ‘what are you seeking?

Whatever you are seeking will take time and effort and what everyone needs to assess is whether they are seeking their own interests or whether they are seeking first the reign of Elohim and His righteousness!

True love for Elohim entails a faithful obedience of guarding and doing His commands:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:2-3By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. 3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy

These words of Yoḥanan are very clear: Love for Elohim is to guard His commands, and then we take note of what Sha’ul tells us about love, in:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 13:5 “does not behave indecently, does not seek its own, is not provoked, reckons not the evil

The Greek word used here for ‘seek’ is ζητέω zēteō – Strong’s G2212 and the Greek word translated as ‘its own’ is ἑαυτοῦ heautou –Strong’s G1438 which means, himself, herself, own estimation.

What we see from this is that when we truly walk in love, and guard to do the commands of Elohim and live set-apart lives unto Him, we are not to be seeking our own ways or desires. We are not be spending our days meditating on what we ‘wish for’ and spend our time aimlessly trying to reason out in our minds how we can strive after the things that are not according to the desire of Elohim, but are simply fleshly desires that can often consume our thoughts and time! We are to meditate on and delight in the Torah of Elohim day and night – for then we will be prosperous in our way and be properly equipped in seeking the interests of others through a proper seeking first the reign of Elohim and His righteousness!

To seek takes diligent effort; and to seek His kingdom speaks of diligently seeking and meditating on Him and His instructions (Torah) – something we see lacking in a great way today!

I often think that the result of the proper seeking of Elohim that is lacking is as a result of a lack of a true understanding and knowledge of what pure and diligent seeking of Elohim means and what it actually involves on a continual basis!

As a result of not seeking Elohim as He should be, most are simply seeking their own interests!

In order for us to gain a deeper and more clarified understanding of what it means to ‘seek Elohim and His righteousness’ I want us to take a look at the various Hebrew words  that we see being used to express the idea of seeking or inquiring as we should.

The first word that I would like us to look at is found in the words of Dawiḏ, in:

Tehillah/Psalm 27:8 “To my heart You have said, “Seek My face.” Your face, יהוה, I seek.

The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘seek’ is בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 which means, to seek, aim, search, look, inquire, and it is written in the ‘piel’ form which expresses an ‘intensive or intentional action’ and could therefore be expressed as, seek earnestly or seek the face, seek to find, demand, desire, ask, and this kind of ‘seeking’ is an intense seeking with a purpose!

We who stay in the Master and walk in integrity are to seek (בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245) יהוה and His righteousness with great intensity and desire to please Him.

How earnestly are you seeking יהוה?

When looking at this Hebrew root word in its ancient pictographic form we are able to grasp a clearer picture of what this kind of seeking entails.

In the ancient pictographic script this word בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 which means, to seek, aim, search, look, inquire, looks like this:

 shinquphbeit

Beyt - בָּ:

The ancient script has this letter as beit, which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself. We also recognise that the House/Dwelling Place of Elohim is the body of Elohim that is built up as living stones in our Master, יהושע Messiah. A house/tent speaks of your family and to whom you belong and under whom you submit and adhere to, as the House of Elohim has clear instructions for those in the House! The Light (that is His Word) is for those in the House!

Quph – ק:

This is the Hebrew letter ‘quph’, which is pictured in the ancient script as – quph – which is a picture of ‘the sun at the horizon’ and depicts the elements of ‘time’, as it pictures the sun in its rising and setting. It therefore carries the meaning of ‘circle’ or ‘to go around’, representing for us both, appointed cycles or times as well as eternity. It also is understood as the ‘gathering of the light’ as has the understanding of that which is ‘continual’ and signifies a continued pattern that is faithfully repeated.

Shin - שֵׁ:

This is the letter ‘shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as shin, which is a picture of ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food. Understanding the concept of eating our daily bread, as we meditate on the Torah day and night, we also see this picture rendering for us the meaning of ‘The Word’.

When we consider this pictographic rendering of the Hebrew word בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 in terms of ‘seeking’ then we are able to see the meaning that is clearly expressed through this words, as it can render for us the following:

DWELLING CONTINUALLY IN THE WORD!

I do think that this clearly expresses what proper seeking Elohim and His righteousness entails!

How earnestly are you seeking Elohim and His righteousness? Are you dwelling continually in His Word? By ‘dwelling continually in His Word’ I do not mean being buried in the reading of His Word for 24 hours with no time for anything or anyone else, but rather that one’s life is continually centred around His Word, which entails a proper diligent reading, studying and seeking and then the proper practical application of the Word that is studied I all you do! Dwelling continually in His Word means that all that you think, say or do is done in the Name of יהושע. Dwelling in His Word involves a proper understanding of how we are living stones that are being built up in Messiah and therefore recognise that we are no longer our own and to seek our own ways would be a foolish thing done in pride!

The Hebrew word בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 can also carry the meaning of, desire, consult, discover, call upon and therefore implies that this kind of seeking is done in order to try to learn information about an object or person and implies a diligent procurement of the information required. Those who have no desire for Elohim do not seek Him and are not interested in discovering and learning more about Him.

Dawiḏ sought to dwell in the House of יהוה forever, as we see in verse 4 of Tehillah/Psalm 27:

Tehillah/Psalm 27:4 “One matter I asked of יהוה – this I seek: to dwell in the House of יהוה all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of יהוה, and to inquire in His Hĕḵal.

In the Hebrew text the phrase, ‘I seek’ is written as אֲבַקֵּשׁ eḇqashand is from the root word בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 and I find this very interesting when seeing the letter aleph (אֲ) being used in the beginning of this word to construct the meaning of ‘I seek’, and in the ancient pictographic rendering of this phrase we take note that it would look like this:

shinquphbeitaleph

The additional letter is aleph:

Aleph – אֲ:

The ancient pictographic script has this letter pictured as aleph, which is the head of an ox, and represents ‘strength’, meaning ‘muscle’ as the ox is the strongest of the livestock animals. This also carries the meaning of ‘yoke’, as an ox is placed in a yoke in order to plough or pull a heavy load in the right direction. This can also picture for us the ‘red heifer’ sacrifice that יהושע Messiah fulfilled!

יהוה is our strength and refuge and it is only when we put יהוה first and seek first His Reign and His Righteousness shall we be able to properly dwell in and stay in Him.

WE ARE STRENGTHENED IN THE MASTER WHEN WE DWELL CONTINUALLY IN HIS WORD AND WALK IN HIS TRUTH!

Another Hebrew word that is translated as ‘seek’ is the word דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 which means, to resort to, seek out, ask, avenge, consult, investigate, search carefully, make inquiry, question, which we see being used in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 55:6 “Seek יהוה while He is to be found, call on Him while He is near.

This word carries more than simply just take a quick peek, as it emphasises the need to ‘be digging deep in seeking out carefully’ and this can only be done with great diligence, through proper and meaningful consultation, inquiring and asking.

When we are told to ‘seek’ first the Kingdom – we must recognise that this is not an instruction that gives the notion that you look at it and now that you have seen it you can go on your merry way – NO! To seek His Kingdom requires hard work and discipline each and every day.

A word that is derived from דָּרַשׁ darash is מִדְרָשׁ miḏrash – Strong’s H4097 means, a study, record, writings or story, commentary.  A ‘miḏrash’ speaks of the ability to search out something and often refers to that which is written to teach, and later became known as a Hebrew word relating to the in-depth study of the word, often done together. The point is that we are to be a people who are earnestly growing in wisdom and understanding of the Scriptures so we can remember what we look like when we look intently into the mirror of His Word!

This Hebrew word דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 can also carry the understanding of seeking out and learning information that what not previously known and it implies having a relationship!

By that I mean that the information that is sought out is done so through proper requests and petitions and the information sought out is then carefully pondered upon and thought about, with a focus to think seriously and long about its meaning and ramifications that are expressed. In other words, this kind of seeking can only be done with the proper attention and concentration that is required to grasp and meditate on in order to apply what is sought after and learnt!

This word דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 is a verb that expresses an action of a careful attention and due diligence that is required in order to gain the knowledge sought after.

While we take note that בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 and דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 are synonyms of each other we also recognise that there is a difference between the two. Yes, they both mean ‘seek, inquire, consult, search out’, yet as we have noted, these two actions gives us a better understanding of what true seeking of Elohim and His Righteousness entails as we recognise that we are called to dwell continually in the Word and in the process of doing this we are called to earnestly study and learn in order to grow!

בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 implies the eagerness and desire while דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 suggests care and intentionality in the process of looking for something; and we see both of these words being used in:

Tehillah/Psalm 105:4 “Seek יהוה and His strength; seek His face always.

This verse could be paraphrased as follows:

“Carefully search for יהוה and His strength; continually and eagerly seek His face.”

We see these two words being used in Mosheh’s warning against turning away from יהוה:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 4:29But from there you shall seek יהוה your Elohim, and shall find, when you search for Him with all your heart and with all your being.

In the context of these words of Mosheh we are able to take heed of the warning against turning away from יהוה and in this verse we are able to recognise two clear actions that will keep us from turning away and cause us to remain faithful and trustworthy ambassadors of His reign and recognise how we have all, from a scattered state, been able to seek Him and find Him and search for Him with all our heart, because of the Blood of Messiah, our Master and Elohim!!!

Seek’ and ‘search for’! Same, same… but different! What? Well, we know that these are certainly synonyms yet we also recognise that they differ in their application. As already discussed, we take note that that to “search for” is a verb that expresses an action of a careful attention and due diligence that is required in order to gain the knowledge sought after, which is the word דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875, which calls for intense discipline in study and learning.

To seek, which is the Hebrew word – בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245, carries the understanding of seeking something that exists or is believed to exist, in order to obtain it! In other words, we could say that בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 is not only about knowledge but it is about possession! In other words it is about earnestly seeking יהוה with intensity and passion, making Him your Elohim through a deepened personal and intimate relationship!

Both of these kind of seeking is required to stay true to the word and stand firm in the Truth

True seeking requires both בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 and דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 collectively working together on a continual basis. When we earnestly exercise a בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 kind of seeking then we are able to recognise Him as our True personal Elohim, Master and Saviour! Seeking Him with intense passion, in order to know Him, will cause you to search for Him with all your heart.

Ture seeking collectively implies a cognitive investigation and a digging deeper into understanding the One who is sought after with your all!

Mosheh gives us a couple of actions here in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 4:29:

Firstly we must submit to Elohim and seek to make Him our supreme and complete ruler in all we do – that is that we are to seek Elohim to be our Head and Strength and Ruler in every thought, word and deed! When we do this we will be careful about what we do! Secondly we must make time to study his Word and therefore make time to know our Kings’ Word and Deeds so that we can faithfully follow and be perfectly built up in Him!

Many people claim that they do not have time to be in the Word and often find various excuses as to why they cannot find the time to be in the Word and study it on a daily basis. When anyone says this it simply highlights the fact that they are not truly seeking and searching for Elohim and as a result they reveal that Elohim is not that important to them, which in turn will cause them to have no interest in the interests of others and simply highlights that they are walking in pride as they are so self-consumed and seek only after their own interests and desires, according to the flesh!

Qolasim/Colossians 3:16-17 “Let the Word of Messiah dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing with pleasure in your hearts to the Master in psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

You will take note of the language being used here as the ability to make sure that whatever you do, whether in word or deed, is done in the Name of the Master יהושע, the Word of Messiah must ‘dwell’ in you! As mentioned by the pictographic rendered of בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 – ‘Dwelling continually in the Word!

If whatever we do, whether in word or deed or even thought, cannot be worthy of being done in the Name of the Master יהושע then it should not be done, for if it is then we are simply seeking our own interests and not His will and that which pleases Him!

Do you earnestly seek and search for Elohim?

In a severe rebuke giving for false and compromised worship יהוה makes it clear that He will stretch out His hand against any who have not sought for Him or inquired of Him:

Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 1:4-6 “And I shall stretch out My hand against Yehuḏah, and against all the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, and cut off every trace of Baʽal from this place, the names of the idolatrous priests, with the priests, 5 and those bowing down to the host of the heavens on the house-tops, and those bowing themselves, swearing by יהוה and swearing by Malkam; 6 and those who turn away from following יהוה, and who have not sought יהוה or inquired of Him.

Here we see both words בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 and דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 being used. Many may claim to know Elohim yet they are not seeking Him with all their heart as their compromised lifestyles reveal this as their ‘mixed worship’ highlights that they have not sought יהוה as He should be, as he is NOT Elohim in every area of their lives for if He was then they would not do half of the things that they do; and in the process they have no inclination of inquiring of Him through the necessary study and meditation of His Torah that is required on a daily basis.

It is all about seeking! How are you seeking? Are you seeking your own at times?

As I was preparing this message I thought about how so many can so easily get distracted by what the world has to offer from a fleshly perspective that this often causes many to compromise their ability to properly seek and search for Elohim in every aspect of their lives. Perhaps a very simple yet very sobering question that many need to consider when asked is this:

“What do you seek when you open your internet browser?”

What do in mean? Well exactly what the question asks!!! While much information can be searched for from the internet, and is often needed for many work functions, what I am actually asking here is what is being sought after when you ‘have nothing to do’? How much time is often spent browsing and searching for things that simply steal away time from seeking and searching for Elohim? While we do recognise that there is an abundance of useful information and tools that can be used from the internet I think that we can all agree that there are a lot of things that are searched for that should not be searched for, or rather that they add no significant value to one’s seeking wholeheartedly after Elohim with all of one’s heart!

Please note that I am in no way opposed to the use of the internet as we have the privilege of using it as a platform for proclaiming the Good News! what I am simply highlighting is the fact that if one is not careful in all that they think, say or do, then it may just be that what is often being ‘casually searched’ for may not be that which enriches your knowledge and understanding of Elohim and when tested against the mirror of the Word may reveal that you are simply seeking your own!

While I have used the simple example of what is searched for on one’s browser we take note that the question about what we are earnestly seeking after and searching for is applicable to every area and action of our lives, for we are to offer up our lives as a continual offering before Elohim, so that in all that we do, whether in word or deed, we are able to reflect a life that seeks and searches for Elohim in every way!

While many may claim to know Elohim and even claim to walk in His Word, they are not diligently seeking and searching as they should, as we take note of the words we see being given as a severe woe to the false shepherds in:

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 34:6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill. And My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

These Shepherds were not seeking the interests of the sheep as they sought only their own interests, all as a result of not properly seeking and searching after Elohim and His righteousness!

We also take note of the words we find in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 56:10-12 “His watchmen are blind, all of them, they have not known. All of them are dumb dogs, unable to bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 And the dogs have a strong appetite, they never have enough. And they are shepherds! They have not known understanding. All of them look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own end, saying, 12 “Come, let me bring wine and fill ourselves with strong drink. And tomorrow shall be as today, even much greater.

The shepherds were only looking out for themselves and sought only their own gain and as a result no one was seeking or searching for Elohim!

In a psalm of Dawiḏ that opens with a vivid description of the total corruption that characterised the time he was living in and relates the destruction that is coming upon the wicked we see in the opening verses the following:

Tehillah/Psalm 14:1-3 “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no יהוה.” They have done corruptly, they have done an abominable deed, there is no one who does good. 2 יהוה looked down from the heavens on the sons of mankind, to see if there is a wise one, seeking יהוה. 3 They have all turned aside, they have together become filthy; no one is doing good, not even one.

This highlights for us a very sad state as there was no one who was earnestly seeking to study and meditate upon the Word of Elohim as all had turned aside to corruption!

When יהוה looks down from the heavens today what does He see? While we are all called to work out our own deliverance with fear and trembling and are unable to give an account for another as we all must give an account before Him, the question should become more personal and say:

“When יהוה looks down from the heavens upon me, to see if I am seeking Him and walking in His wisdom, what does he see?”

 

Qolasim/Colossians 3:1-2 “If, then, you were raised with Messiah, seek the matters which are above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of Elohim. 2 Mind the matters above, not those on the earth.

 

While there are certainly many other passages that we could discuss in terms of what proper seeking entails I simply wanted to highlight some Hebrew and Greek words that shed some necessary light on our need to be a people who dwell continually in the Word as we seek after our Mighty Master and Elohim and search for Him with all our heart, so that we are not found to be seeking after our own interests but rather be found seeking the matters which are above and take great care in loving Elohim with all our heart and being and strength and loving our neighbour as ourselves – fro when we are doing this then we are seeking and searching as we should and strive to be found as faithful wise maidens who have oil in their lamps!

How are you seeking and searching? Seek not your own!

May this message encourage you to seek Elohim and His Righteousness, knowing that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11:6But without belief it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.

We know that belief/faith without works is dead, which emphasises how belief requires a proper obedience to the guarding of the commands of Elohim and herein we are able to see how true seeking, which is an intensive action, requires complete obedience and therefore true seeking is done through hearing, guarding and doing the Word of Elohim through a proper meditation, study and application in both word and deed, on a daily basis!

As ambassadors of the Masters and His coming reign we are to be about the Master’s business and go and make taught ones of the nations! This leaves no room for compromise and sin and therefore leaves no time for seeking your own as you strive to enter through the narrow gate and fix your eyes on the Prince and Perfector of our faith, redeeming the time:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:15-17 “See then that you walk exactly, not as unwise, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are wicked. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the desire of יהוה is.

His desire is our set-apartness and this we can only do when we are actively seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and not seeking our own!

How are you seeking?

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!