For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:11-13
One of my favorite childhood games was “hide and seek.” In this game, one person would have to cover his eyes and count to a certain number while everyone else went into hiding. As soon as he finished counting, he would start looking for people. Once he found someone in hiding, he would tag him out and continue to looking for others. In our passage, the Lord has placed the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Babylonian captivity. The Jews were paying the terrible price for disobedience to God. At the beginning of this captivity, the Lord gives them this incredible promise found in Jer. 29:11-13. In this promise, we discover how we can get back the presence and power of God in our lives.
We see the sobering DILEMMA.
The Jews have experienced the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies. The people in Jerusalem have been either killed by the sword, victims of famine, or taken as captives into Babylon. The captivity in Babylon would be for 70 years. The many years they ignored God’s warning to repent of their disobedience and idolatries has caught up with them. The captives would have to adjust to living in Babylon. It is a tough place to be when God has to chasten us for living in flagrant disobedience and loss of passion for Him. It is very sobering when we have to come to the place of complete loss and failure before we realize we turned a deaf ear to God’s call on our lives.
We see the sovereign DESIRE.
In spite of the sadness that the Jews would live the next 70 years in Babylonian captivity, the Lord speaks to them in a very comforting way. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God is comforting the Jews to know that He is in control of this situation! He is showing His sovereign power in the matter: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you.” He will shower them with His special peace: “thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” He will unveil to them His special purpose: “to give you an expected end.” At the moment when they felt very much broken, God gives them this word of comfort. Are you at a place in life where you are so broken that you need a word from God? Here it is in verse 11.
We see the starving DEVOTION.
“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” When they came to the place where they were bereft, broken, and in bondage, they looked up to heaven once again. God said, “THEN shall ye call upon me.” They had deprived their lives of God’s presence for many years. It would be at this breaking point that they would express their starving devotion for God. Many times it is not until we have experienced great pain, loss, and hurt that we realize the importance of praying to the Lord. It is not until then that we realize that our praying has been shallow and void of true devotion. Do you sense a need this morning to come to God with a starving devotion for His presence?
We see the satisfying DISCOVERY.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” God could not be found until they searched for Him with all their heart. A lady was sitting in the passenger seat of the sedan her husband was driving. She said to her husband, “How come we do not sit close to each other in the car like we used to when we first got married?” He replied, “I’m still in the same place: I’m not the one who moved!” When God seems far away, let us remember that He is not the one who moved. You’ll find Him when you search for Him with all your heart.
Does God seem far away from you? Are there some tough situations going on in your life that God has sent your way to draw you closer to Him? Claim the promise from Jer. 29:11-13 as yours, and discover the power of God’s presence once again.
Have an enriched God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Chronicles 9-12