The quality and depth of our faith is inseparably linked to the quality and depth of our relationship with God. To have great faith we must have great passion, love, zeal, fellowship, intimacy and commitment with God. If our intimacy, fellowship and relationship with God are weak, then our faith will be weak. If they are strong and vibrant, then our faith will strong and vibrant. Faith will not come in any great degree unless you are diligently seeking God with your whole heart. Faith crumbles without a heart that is turned to the face of God and is set to cleave and pursue Him with relentless passion. On the other hand, without a strong faith your relationship with God will suffer because you cannot please God in any way, shape or form without faith. Without faith and trust in God and His words, you cannot have true intimacy, fellowship and relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. It is impossible to have faith unless we believe the Scriptures as to what they tell us about the nature and characteristics of our God and we seek Him diligently knowing He will reward us with greater faith and greater intimacy.
Because faith is indispensable to a good relationship with God, its importance cannot be overemphasized. But notice the condition in this verse. It does not say that God is the rewarder of everyone but “of those who diligently seek Him.” Living faith is direct; it has its foundation in diligently, actively, consistently, zealously seeking Him in study and prayer and in conforming to His will. Those who are doing these things are encouraged that they will be rewarded. The reward is to find Him. This, in turn, increases faith.
The biblical word “faith” is most synonymous with the English word “trust.” “Faith” can be a mere agreement with a cold, hard fact. This is fine as far as it goes, but it loses a great deal of meaning when we consider that this One with whom we are dealing is a warm, dynamic, powerful, loving Personality. Biblical faith, trust, is firm. It is faith in full flower, acting consciously and with agreeable feeling—we might call it “conviction.”
This faith is not done coldly and calculatedly—simply because a thing is right. It is not done with a “perhaps” or a “maybe,” but with joy and with firm conviction, with a consciousness that one is in agreement with this dynamic and loving personality. We should be aware of our unity with Him just as we are aware of our sense of touch—our strongest sense in terms of evoking emotion: consider a punch in the nose compared to a kiss. But faith, trust, is sensitive in the same way. It is conscious of the things of God; it sees God. In addition, faith not only evokes the hard, cold facts (it has “a remembrance of truth”), but also responds emotionally to a wonderful, dynamic, gracious, and powerful Personality, who is our Friend, Father, Protector, Comforter and Rescuer.
All of us, I think, want to be rewarded by God. There is no doubt at all about that. We want very much to be rewarded by God, but my question to all of us is: are we willing to make the effort, that is, to pay the price? That is inherent in that statement that is made here. That last phrase means to seek out or search with the connotation of earnestness, diligence. It means to seek with a sincere desire to obtain favor. The word diligence here is a very strong word and in a different context it has the sense of requiring or even demanding. The word shows a great deal of persistence. Are you willing to seek God diligently and then do what he demands you to do? We do not seek Him to then ignore his words and not listen to His voice. We must seek, hear, listen and obey if we want our faith to explode.We must have fervent desire for God above all else and seek Him in prayer and in His Word. Then our faith will flourish.
A few verses earlier we see the great faith of Enoch because he walked with God.
A W Tozer wrote the following of Enoch…
Enoch recognized the failure of men and women trying to live their lives apart from God and His will. By faith he walked with God on this earth at a time when sin and corruption were wildly rampant all around him.
Enoch’s daily walk was a walk of faith, a walk of fellowship with God. What the Scriptures are trying to say to us is this: If Enoch could live and walk with God by faith in the midst of his sinful generation, we likewise should be able to follow his example because the human race is the same and God is the same!…
WALKING WITH GOD IS WELL PLEASING TO GOD
Pleasing to God – In the OT we read that that Enoch walked with God (Ge 5:22, 24) and as discussed below the Septuagint (Lxx) translates walked using the Greek verb euaresteo, to be pleasing! Thus Enoch’s walk was a walk that was well pleasing to God!
The closer you walk with God, the less room for anything to come between.
Would it be that God Almighty would be able to write on our epitaphs the words He wrote on Enoch’s epitaph — He walked with God.
Please (euaresteo related adjective euarestos from eu = well + aresko = to please) means to behave in a manner that causes another to be pleased. It means to to give pleasure or satisfaction. The idea is to excite agreeable emotions in another. For example in Hebrew 13:16, praise that pleases God is the fruit of our lips, not just our thoughts, and is spoken out unto the Lord, either in prose or in song.
Seek (ekzeteo from ek = out or to intensify the meaning + zeteo = to seek) means to seek out, to look for, to search diligently for anything lost. This verb implies that the seeker exerts considerable effort and care in learning something.
Lit. “unto them that seek him out”. Those who seek Him out are continuously (present tense) diligently seeking Him.
The “Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament” (Rienecker) notes that the preposition “ek” in this compound
“always seems to denote that the seeker finds, or at least exhausts his powers of seeking.”
The writer could have used the root verb zeteo but instead he chose ekzeteo which speaks of making diligent investigation or determined search for something. The idea is to exert effort to find out something.
Ekzeteo, in contrast to the rare use in the NT, is used 105 times in the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Old Testament.
For example, the psalmist writes:
“With all my heart I have sought (ekzeteo) Thee. Do not let me wander from Thy commandments…And I will walk at liberty, for I seek (ekzeteo) Thy precepts…I am Thine, save me; for I have sought (ekzeteo) Thy precepts.” (Ps 119:10, 45, 94-)
In Jeremiah God spoke to Israel saying:
“and you will seek (Lxx = ekzeteo) Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13)
And in Amos God says:
“to the house of Israel, “Seek (Lxx = ekzeteo) Me that you may live.” (Amos 5:4)
A W Pink asks…
What is meant by “diligently seek Him”? To “seek” God is to forsake, deny, go out of self, and take Him alone for our Ruler and satisfying Portion. To seek Him “diligently” is to seek Him early (Pr 8:17), whole-heartedly (Ps 119:10), earnestly (Ps. 27:4), unweariedly (Luke 11:8). How does a thirsty man seek water? The promise is, “And ye shall seek Me and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” (Je 29:13 and cf. 2Chr 15:15).
Our number one aim in life should be to please God.
If you love someone, you aim to please him or her. The foremost commandment is that we should love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). It is impossible to obey that commandment without seeking to please God. Note two things in this regard:
A. Pleasing God begins on the heart (or thought) level.
We can fake out people by being nice on the surface, while in our hearts we don’t care about them. But God knows our every thought, and so we can’t fake Him out! Even if we fulfill a list of religious duties or live outwardly moral lives, God judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Heb 4:12, 13). So if you want to please God, you must judge all sin on the thought level and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (Mark 7:20, 21, 22, 23; 2Co 10:5). God condemns those who honor Him with their lips, while their hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:6). This is essential: Aim to please God with your thought life and your emotional life!
James 1:22:23: Do not deceive yourselves, by not listening to His word; instead put it into practice.
We deceive ourselves when we just listen to the Word of God instead of allowing it to penetrate deep into our heart to judge our thought processes, attitudes, intentions, motives, desires-thus changing the way we behave.
For the Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Heb 4:12
Much like a skilled surgeon, the true Word of God cuts deep into our innermost thoughts and desires and reveals the state of the heart so that we can be truly healthy before God and imitate Him as children.
We are suppose to love what God loves and hate what God hates.
Where are the people who are valiant for truth on the earth? Not only in knowledge but in practice.
Will I live to please God or to be popular among people. Will I live to please God or my own selfish desires and ambitions?
B. Pleasing God requires consistently drawing near to Him and seeking Him.
Verse 6 mentions the one “who comes to God.” “Comes to” is the same word that is translated “draw near” in Heb 4:16-where we are exhorted to “draw near to the throne of grace.” In Heb 7:25- the author says that Jesus “is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him.” In Heb 10:1, he states that the Old Testament sacrifices could never “make perfect those who draw near.” In Heb 10:22- he exhorts us to “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” So in Heb 11:6, it could be translated, “he who draws near to God.” It means drawing near to God in worship, fellowship, intimacy, and prayer. We are called to fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 1:9 and I John 1:3). It is our spiritual destiny.
Hebrews 11:6 also mentions “those who seek Him.” The KJV translates it, “diligently seek,” (Heb 11:6KJV) but scholars are divided about whether it has this intensive sense. It is parallel here to drawing near to God. The Hebrew word that is often translated seek originally meant to beat a path under foot. The idea was that if you sought your neighbor often, you would beat a path through the grass to his door.
We should seek God so often that we beat a path to Him!
Drawing near to God and seeking Him are deliberate, intentional activities. You do not accidentally draw near to the Holy One. No one ever seeks God apart from God’s first drawing and calling that person (Rom 3:11 1Cor. 1:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31). But once God has called you to salvation and you have responded in faith to His call, you must exert deliberate effort and intention to seek the Lord. Make it your priority and aim in life!
O the wonders of seeking God and knowing Him.
Thy fishes breathe but where thy waters roll;
Thy birds fly but within thy airy sea;
My soul breathes only in thy infinite soul;
I breathe, I think, I love, I live but thee.
Oh breathe, oh sink-O lord, live into me.
I slept not all night because thy love, O my God, flowed in me like delicious oil and burned as fire…I love God far more that the most affectionate lover among men loves his earthly attachment. Madame Guyon
O God, let me breathe you into every part of my heart and being. O Lord live and breathe in me and let me sink into your presence and embrace. I want to hold unto to you, know you, feel you, hear you and become one with you in my thoughts, words and actions.
Consider then and realize
how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the LORD your God
and have no awe of me,”
declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
We must have an awe of the magnificent splendor of our God. If we forsake God, then our lives will turn evil and bitter and without true purpose and meaning. We were originally created to have this awesome relationship and intimacy with God and without it we are robbing ourselves of the joy of life at its deepest levels.
II Chronicles 17:6-And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.
19:3-3But there are good things found in you, for you have destroyed the Asherim out of the land and have set your heart to seek God [with all your soul’s desire].
2 Chronicle 12:14: And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.
God must be our heart’s desire above all else, and every day we draw breath upon the earth we must set our hearts to seek Him.
God’s proper name in Hebrew is Yahweh is a form of the verb “to be” meaning He is: He is alive, active, and present. God’s name is a verb which means He is always moving, always acting and always doing. It represents God in a loving, committed covenant relationship with His children. It is a God who is reaching out for us to know him. Yahweh is the God who promises to be with us, to continually unfold Himself to us in new and deeper ways of understanding, and to protect and deliver us from every form of oppression. Yahweh is the God who communicates with us and reveals to us His awesome Word and Will. Yahweh means the Eternal One, the Immutable One, He who WAS and IS and IS TO COME. Yahweh also means, “He who will be, the Coming One,” who will fulfill his original covenant promise in Genesis 3:15 of the crushing the head of the serpent (devil) and bringing to full completion the salvation of His people. Yahweh’s name is the pledge, the commitment and the unbreakable bond of this covenant promise to His people. He is also the Coming One who is always ready to intercede and intervene in any obstacle or problem of His children. Yahweh is the God of action for His people, getting intimately involved in every phase of their lives. Yahweh is the great deliverer, the wonderful redeemer, and the firm rescuer who transforms our life with the touch of His mighty hand. The name Yahweh denotes a very special and unique relationship with his treasured children. Yahweh is the God who supplies all the needs of His people. Yahweh is able to be whatever His people need. As Yahweh, the Immutable One, He is unchangeable in His promises and His heart of love for His people. He is steadfast, faithful, and sure even in the most desperate hour. Isn’t this a God we would want to seek with our whole heart?
Skip Moen: Now that we know God expects us to act on His words, the next question is “What does He say?” …Belief is not about deriving divine principles or producing heavenly abstractions. To believe (a verb) is to remember. It is to remember what God did and what He demands. If my life is determined by my response, I must know what God is asking of me. The most important question in all of my life is this: “What does God demand of me?” If I can’t answer that question, I am not able to hear for hearing is the response required by the question. That’s why the Shema is not Deuteronomy 6:4. Deuteronomy 6:4 is the introduction to the demand. It is the call to respond, but it is not the content of what I am to hear. Shema yisrael, YHWH Eloheinu, YHWH ehad is not what I must do. It is the framework that surrounds what I must do. Deuteronomy 6:4 establishes the reason why I must hear and obey. There is a God. His name is YHWH. He is the only God. And the fact that He is God is the reason why I must respond to His demands…It is useless to read His words without committing myself to do what they require. It is worse than useless. It is blasphemy, disobedience and sin. It is pointless to call myself a follower and ignore the behavioral changes He demands. It is worse than pointless. It is self-defeating. So, begin with the invitation to His demands, but do not stop there. Don’t open the envelope and leave the letter inside. It’s time to take up what follows.
Faith is essential to please God.
Two words underscore this in He 11:6: impossible and must. Faith is not just something nice, if you care to practice it. It is impossible to please God without faith. You must believe that God is and the He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
We know this on a human level. If someone does not believe you or questions your integrity, you are not pleased with that person. In effect, they’re calling you a liar. If you have spoken the truth, to have someone call you a liar is not pleasing.
How much more does it displease the God of truth, Who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), when we call Him a liar by doubting His word! What could be more insulting? What could be more arrogant than to imply that we know more than God does? When we do not trust Him, we are in effect saying, “God, You’re wrong and I’m right!” How impudent!
A Great Definition of Faith:
When missionary John Paton was translating the Scripture for the South Sea islanders, he was unable to find a word in their vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having faith. He had no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he was in his hut translating, a native came running up the stairs into Paton’s study and flopped in a chair, exhausted. He said to Paton,
“It’s so good to rest my whole weight in this chair.”
John Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on God. That word went into the translation of their New Testament and helped bring that civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is putting your whole weight on God. If God said it, then it’s true, and we’re to believe it.
Hebrews 11:1 (ASV): Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.
Assurance (hupostasis from hupo = under + histemi = stand) is a literally a standing or setting under and thus describes a support, a confidence, a steadiness, a foundation (refers to ground on which something is built = the foundation of things for which we hope) and as used in Scripture represents a solid, unshakable confidence in God (that He Who has promised is faithful).
Wuest writes that…
The word “substance” deserves careful treatment. It is hupostasis, made up of stasis “to stand,” and hupo “under,” thus “that which stands under, a foundation.” Thus it speaks of the ground on which one builds a hope. Moulton and Milligan report its use as a legal term. They say that it stands for “the whole body of documents bearing on the ownership of a person’s property, deposited in archives, and forming the evidence of ownership.” They suggest the translation, “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.”
The Indescribable Joy in the Hearts of Those Who Seek God and Have Faith
I am also seeing that there is a connection between faith and joy: a joy that overflows out of a vibrant and living relationship with God. I recently have began to read some of the writings of Skip Moen, an amazing biblical scholar and well versed in the Hebrew culture and language. This is what he wrote on joy in “The Missing Ingredient”:
for there was joy in Israel 1 Chronicles 12:40:
Joy – “Joy is not a theological category in the teachings of most religions and it is never discussed in handbooks of theology. Those who are overwhelmed by spiritual solemnity and are unable to forget that faith lives in a constant state of tension between ignominious death and eternal life find it difficult to comprehend the Jewish conception. Even within Judaism the teaching that joy lies in the very heart of worship, that it is a prerequisite for piety, is a scandal to the dullards and a stumbling block to the bigots.
”What more can be said? Should we recall that Yeshua does not greet the women who come to the garden tomb with “Shalom” but rather with “Chairete.” Should we reflect on James famous statement, “Count it all joy when . . .”? Do we need to remember the numbers of times Paul speaks of joy? Yes, it’s true, this passage is about the joy of Israel when David is finally crowned king of the entire country, but joy is the watchword of true Hebraic faith. It is the essence of our relationship with the Father and the substance of our message to the world. Without joy, religion is just another way of plodding through the day. If joy is absent from life, life is absent from being.
Simhah is not a feeling. It is the reality, experience and manifestation of overwhelming gladness. It’s not simply an inward emotional state. Joy delivers actions. Singing, dancing, shouting, offering praises, prayer, feasting and celebration. Joy is the flow of worship and service. In fact, God expects us to exhibit joy as we involve ourselves in His redemptive work. That should give us pause. If joy is the essence of my relationship with the Father, why does it seem so absent in the lives of many who call themselves His children? If joy is to characterize our worship and our work, then why do so many of us drag ourselves through the day, hating what we have to do to make ends meet? The Hebrew imagery of joy is captured in a wedding celebration. That’s the kind of rapturous exuberance we are expected to display before God! That’s what we bring to the Sabbath, to prayer, to His festivals. This is the age of joy, the time of rejoicing.
If you’re like me, reading these words produces melancholy. Yes, we know it’s supposed to be like this. We are supposed to be flooded with joy. But somehow life saps us of that divine vitality. We catch only glimpses of joyful reality. We experience only moments of bliss. And we think, “Well, that’s just the way life is in this broken world.” No! That’s not the way life is. That’s the way we have allowed it to become. If the Lord of hosts expects His people to live with joy, then that is the reality of our experience. Once again we are listening to that inner voice instead of the external word of the Father. If He runs to greet us as we return to Him, and prepares the finest banquet to celebrate our recovery, why do we withhold what is His – our joy? Get up and dance! Eat! Sing! Love life! Be joyful! That’s an order.
SEEK GOD WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND EVERYTHING YOU ARE. HAVE GREAT FAITH IN HIS AWESOME AND FAITHFUL PROMISES. LIVE WITH GREAT JOY FOR YOU KNOW HIM. LIVE IN A MANNER THAT IMITATES HIM, PLEASES HIM AND MIRRORS HIS WONDERFUL HEART.