Some discussion occurs regarding the meaning of the two parables in Matthew 13:44-46 that address the subjects of the Hidden Treasure in the Field and the Pearl of Great Price. Warren Wiersbe takes the position that it deal with God’s pursuit of us. He writes: “At the close of this age, God will have three peoples: the Jews (the hidden treasure), the church (the pearl), and the saved Gentile nations who will enter into the kingdom (the dragnet).” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible Exposition Commentary (Vol. 1, p. 46). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books). Craig Blomberg takes the opposite position. He explains the passage this way: “Similarly, one must not interpret the buying of the treasure as an allegory for the atonement, as if Jesus were the treasure hunter purchasing our redemption. As in a similar rabbinic parable about Israel entering the promised land, the man who finds the treasure is more naturally seen as the person seeking after God’s blessings.” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 223). Nashville: B&H Publishers). In the interpretation of these 2 parables, I am more inclined to agree with Blomberg than Wiersbe.
But the fact of God’s pursuit of us is a very biblical and a very wonderful idea. While it might not be the point of these parables, it is something that is very true. Do you know that God is pursuing you? This truth is especially true for those of you who might not have trusted in Christ yet and for those of you who have strayed from the path of following God. God is pursuing you. Here’s some reasons why we know that fact.
1. God pursues us so that we can be saved.
We could not be saved if it was not for the pursuit of God. A huge mistake that people make is to think that they first chose God, as though we as human beings are in charge of our salvation. What the Bible teaches us is that all of us are born with a nature to sin (Psalm 51:5). In Ephesians 2, Paul explains the depth of our lostness – we are without hope and without God (2:12). Additionally, in Romans 3:9-20, he provides a graphic explanation of the sin problem of humanity – we are: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one (3:10-12). In fact, Romans 3:11 pretty well dispels any idea that we initiate the salvation experience . . . There is no one who seeks God. Jonathan Edwards used this passage to explain that, any person left to his/her own devices, could not first seek God and would not seek God (he called it moral inability). Therefore, God initiates salvation.
2. God initiates salvation by drawing us.
John 6 is a pivotal chapter in the ministry of Jesus. He has been performing miracles and has been teaching about the Kingdom. But as He starts revealing more of His Divinity (the 7 signs, the 7 I AM’s), those who were following Him began to argue with Him. Jesus has just said, “I AM the bread of life” (6:35), which led to a greater argument. This discourse then led to Christ’s statement, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him’ (6:44). After this time, many of the disciples stopped following Christ. The cost was too great, but they missed the point. God was pursuing them – and He is pursuing us.
3. God desires us.
One of the doctrines we learn about God is that He is self-sufficient (the theological term is Aseity). Norman Geisler explains that it means that God exists in and of Himself, independent of anything else. He is self-existent . . . The biblical basis for God’s aseity is found in the facts that 1) He existed prior to and independent of creation and that 2) He brought into and sustains in existence everything else that is. Yet, the Bible teaches us a mystery that God desires us. His heart is moved by us (Psalm 149:4), we are precious in His eyes (Isaiah 43:4); He is concerned about us (Job 7:17), and He searches us and knows us (Psalm 139:1). God pursues us because He desires us. He takes pleasure in us.
4. God woos us.
One of the images of God in Scripture is that He is a loving, wooing, jealous bridegroom and we are His bride (Hosea 1-3; John 3:29; Eph 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7-9). He pursues us as the bridegroom who is totally smitten by His bride. He does not just desire us, but He desires us passionately. Though God does not need us, He still wants us. And that’s why He woos us. Look at the Bible and one finds numerous examples of how God reached out and called people, making them to be His. Notice Abraham, Moses, Elijah, the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:7), the disciples being called to come and follow Christ. In each instance, God took the initiative and wooed people to Himself.
5. God wants you to pursue Him.
So what does God want from us? He wants you to pursue after Him – to know Him. Psalm 14:2 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God.” That’s the point of the Hidden Treasure and the Costly Pearl. When we understand what God has done for us and that He is a treasure worth more than anything we could acquire in this life, we pursue Him. It is a pursuit that leads to salvation, but it must also be a pursuit that is consistent in our lives every day.
Where does God fit in your life pursuits? It is not that we make Jesus a priority, because when we prioritize Christ, there are times that He takes second place. To pursue God means that Jesus influences and impacts every part of our lives. He’s not just a priority in our lives; He is our life.