Article by John Piper; Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org
Seeking the Lord means seeking his presence. “Presence” is a common translation of the Hebrew word “face.” Literally, we are to seek his “face.” But this is the Hebraic way of having access to God. To be before his face is to be in his presence.
But aren’t his children always in his presence? Yes and no. Yes in two senses: First, in the sense that God is omnipresent and therefore always near everything and everyone. He holds everything in being. His power is ever-present in sustaining and governing all things.
And second, yes, he is always present with his children in the sense of his covenant commitment to always stand by us and work for us and turn everything for our good. “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
When He’s Not with Us
But there is a sense in which God’s presence is not with us always. For this reason, the Bible repeatedly calls us to “seek the Lord . . . seek his presence continually.” God’s manifest, conscious, trusted presence is not our constant experience. There are seasons when we become neglectful of God and give him no thought and do not put trust in him and we find him “unmanifested” — that is, unperceived as great and beautiful and valuable by the eyes of our hearts.
“God calls us to enjoy continual consciousness of his supreme greatness and beauty and worth.”
His face — the brightness of his personal character — is hidden behind the curtain of our carnal desires. This condition is always ready to overtake us. That is why we are told to “seek his presence continually.” God calls us to enjoy continual consciousness of his supreme greatness and beauty and worth.
By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org