Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
For 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. Then you will call on 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.
Our Verse of the Day has always been a favorite of mine – and I am sure many of you are quite familiar with it as well. Like the “series” of verses we have reviewed the past few weeks, this one also reveals the great love of God for you as well. He knows YOU! He knows the desires of your heart! AND He longs for you…. Yes, God longs for relationship with you … a deep, close, personal relationship. And He promises that you WILL find Him when you seek Him with all your heart. God is delighted when you and I seek Him … when we call on Him … when we pray to Him. AND God promises to listen to you.
The thought of seeking God reminds me of a speech that Paul made before the men of Athens when he spoke at the Areopagus (Mars Hill) near the Acropolis. It is recorded in the Book of Acts, and I will share it here for your contemplation. For indeed, Paul confirms that God desires us to seek Him … to reach out to Him … and to find Him … though He is ever present with us:
Acts 17:22-28 (NIV)
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So, you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, God Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man (Adam) God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ (Here Paul is quoting the Cretan philosopher Epimenides) As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’ (Here Paul is quoting the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus)
I observed here how Paul brings the wisdom of God into view … revealing how God desires us … how He longs for us to seek Him and find Him! He is not an “unknown” God; rather, He is the Creator who has revealed Himself through His Word … and in these last days made Himself known through His Son! (Cf. Hebrews 1:2) And He brought you and me into the world at this very time in history … at this place in history … in this specific community … in your specific family … for one purpose. That purpose is to seek God … to reach out to Him and to find Him! EVERY CONTEXT in which you and I live and move and have our being – home, work, family, friends, church, community, etc. – has only one goal in the mind of God: that you and I would seek Him above all else. Life is simply the context which He designed for us to accomplish this one goal – TO BRING YOU AND ME TO HIMSELF!
I believe this singular purpose has been woven into the tapestry of the plans God has for each of us! All of us want to have a positive outlook … a hopeful future … and a purpose directed by God. These things are central to our human experience. But Jeremiah looks deeper into what hope and purpose entail. There are actions on our part that are fundamental to the realization of the plans God has promised to bring about in our lives. In Verses 12 and 13, he states, “Then you will call on 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 think we need to look closer at those words in the context:
- You will call on Me
- You will come and pray to Me AND I will listen to you
- You will seek Me
- You will find Me WHEN you seek Me with all your heart
I sense there are people who want to know God’s will for their lives. They want to know HIS plans for their lives … the future HE envisions … the prosperity and protection HE promises. Yet they do not pray … they do not sit still and listen … they do not seek God with their whole heart. They have their own ideas for happiness … their own conceptions of prosperity … and they simply want God to bless what they want to do … based on their own plans for their lives. This is not what the Word of God teaches us; and I urge anyone caught in this mindset to take a step back and examine themselves and their motives. Perhaps, we need to consider what the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 55:6-9 (NKJV)
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the man of iniquity forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
This is why we need to come to God … to pray to Him … to listen to Him … to seek Him with our whole hearts … in order to know what HE has planned and ordained for our lives. Do you want to know the plans that God has for you? His desire to give you abundant life? Eternal life? Then you need to call upon God. You need to go to Him and pray. You need to listen. You need to seek Him with your whole heart. For we read in Jeremiah 29:14 where God has said, “I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Do you see what this verse is telling us? “I will bring you back from your captivity.” Captivity? Yes, we have held ourselves hostage … imprisoned ourselves with our own thoughts, our own plans, our own visions of the future … and not the plans God has designed and purposed for us. He allowed us to be held captive there in those thoughts so that we could see and experience the futility, the servitude, and the enslavement of man-made dreams! We need to realize that God has something better … something greater … something more fulfilling and satisfying for our souls. Oh, how I pray we would but seek an intimate relationship with Him who is our Creator … our Savior … our Lord. As Solomon cautioned: “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” (Cf. Proverbs 23:17-18)
My friends, God knows the plans that HE has for each of you! His thoughts toward you are thoughts of peace … not of harm. His thoughts are for you … not against you. The future He offers is the hope of eternal life … given to us through Christ Jesus our Lord. God is asking us to come to Him for wisdom … to call upon Him and pray to Him. God is asking us to seek Him with all of our heart … to trust Him in all things and not lean upon our understanding. Our understanding is limited, but what we do know is more than sufficient! For we know the love of God; and so, we can trust Him for our future because God is trustworthy. Let us believe Him at His Word….
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!