Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” — 2 Samuel 21:1
In this passage, we learn that it’s crucial to seek God’s face especially in times of persistent difficulty. When life is hard and nothing seems to be going your way, it’s even more important to seek God’s face.
Pain can cut two ways; it can drive us to doubt God or to seek Him. When trials begin, we usually start praying and asking God to relieve our sufferings. But if things don’t improve, then we may start to wonder if God really loves us, if He is really good, and if His word is really true. On the other hand, difficulty can draw us in to God. As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
If you are going through a season of unceasing sorrow, let the word of God beckon you to seek His face even more.
In this portion of Scripture, we see that Israel was in the middle of a three year famine. Famines hit old world nations hard. Local residents depended upon their own agricultural produce since international food trade was not large scale in their time. As the pain of Israel’s famine grew and began to bear down on the nation, King David finally got serious about the problem. So “David sought the face of the LORD” (2 Samuel 21:1).
We know that King David was a man after God’s own heart, so we can presume that David had already been seeking the Lord throughout the three years of famine. But there must have been a breaking point – a point where David really started seeking God’s face. When David shifted gears with God, this is when he got the answer.
I have seen this kind of back-against-the-wall work of God in my own life a few times. On one occasion several years ago, my wife and I were trying to make a major life decision for an entire year. We had been praying about it for that whole year but could not get clarity on what we should do. Finally, at the prompting of a Nigerian pastor, I took 10 days to seek God’s face with greater intensity, like David must have done when the first, second, and third year of the famine passed with no change. During my 10-day time of fervent seeking, I prayed and waited on God from midnight-3:00 am every night/morning. On the second night of the 10 days I had a flood of clarity. By the end of the ten days, we knew exactly what we should do.
If you’re going through a trying time, seek God’s face even more. Spend much more time in worship and prayer. Fast. Turn up the fervency of your fire for God. Even though it may be costly, it will be worth the price. God's word stands true. If we commit to seek His face, He will be faithful and turn His face towards us to shine upon us, be gracious to us, and give us peace.
Father, give us strength that comes from You to seek Your face when we’re worn and weary. Let everyone who reads these words have supernatural power to draw near to You as each occasion requires. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D.
Senior Associate, Christian Union Day and Night
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