Saturday, January 5, 2013

"The more I seek You ..."

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart"  (Jeremiah 29:13).

Did you know that verse was there ... in Jeremiah 29??

Thousands, maybe even millions of people have memorized Jeremiah 29:11:

   "I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm
       you, plans to give you hope and a future."

That promise was made to Jeremiah and to the remnant and exiles of Judah and Jerusalem, who were being taken into captivity in Babylon.  God had told them that they would go into exile for seventy years as a judgment against their idolatry and rebellion against Him and His prophets.  They had not listened to His Word and had turned to other gods.  Even then there were false prophets telling the people that everything would be all right ... that judgment would not come.

It was in this context that God said in Jeremiah 29:10:  "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. ... for I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (vs. 11).  God's declaration comes to Judah in the midst of His judgment.  His promise opened a window into the future.  God was not done with these people.  Now listen to the WHOLE promise:

"I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile" (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

God speaks to a people He claimed as His own special people, but who had sinned against Him in every conceivable way.  As He speaks of the future He reveals His character and His amazing faithfulness to His promises ...  He tells those who are going into exile and those in exile that when they pray, He will listen; and when they seek Him, they will find Him.  And He promises that their exile is not permanent.  He will bring them back and will fulfill His purpose in them and through them.  History reveals that God did what He said He would do ...

And God is STILL doing what He said He would do!  The promises God made to the Jews in the days of Jeremiah, God also makes to those who are His people today through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  We are like those spoken of in Hebrews 11 who are "aliens and strangers on earth" (vs. 13).  I think of the words of an old hymn:  "Though exiled from home, yet still I may sing:  all glory to God!  I'm a child of the King!!!"

A new day lies ahead of us ... a new year, Lord willing.  What will you do with today, tomorrow, this week, this year?  Will you memorize and quote only verse 11, asking God to prosper you and to give you all you ask, all you want, for your own pleasure, your own purposes - even for your own glory?  Or will you understand that there's more to the promise?!!

"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."  Through prayer and the reading of His Word and the work of His Spirit you can draw near to God, seeking Him with all your heart and finding Him to be all that He has promised.  In every new day and throughout the new year you can experience God drawing you to Himself as you set your heart and mind on things above, where Christ is seated at His right hand (Colossians 3:1-2).

God is "Abba", "Father," to His children.  Seek Him today.  Do not pursue the idols of this world who can bring no true joy, no real peace and no lasting hope.  Draw near to the one and only true God through Jesus, and know the depth of His love today and every day.  He will give you hope AND a future!!

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