We are a world on a search, looking for happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. Nation by nation, people are filing into and ultimately out of this world. The majority never find that for which they look. It is a timeless quest, one that has spanned the ages without respect of person--those of every race, status, and skill have sought. The problem, most often, is they are looking in the wrong place for the wrong thing.
Near the end of the seventh century, Judah, who should have known better, had abandoned God in search of something better. This, of course, was a futile quest from the outset. As the result, they faced 70 years of Babylonian Captivity as reward for their looking elsewhere for what only God could supply. Jeremiah prophesied to them, and it was mostly an ominous, stern message. Yet, in Jeremiah 29, peering down the corridor of time past their punishment in a foreign land, Jeremiah reveals God's great exhortation, telling Judah, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (13). Upon searching, they would find reward, restoration, reunion, and rest (14). Dark days would lie ahead in the captivity, but, given the proper condition of heart, Judah could find hope. In this profound statement of Jehovah, consider these exciting truths.
God sees potential in us. He looks beyond the capture, slaughter, and violence His people would endure for their sins and despite their false assurance. God cannot let sin go unpunished, but even when He views His sinful children He looks with optimistic eye. He saw the day when Judah would seek Him. While others see the worst in us and see our past, God sees the best in us and knows what we could be.
God can be found. Despite the mantra of modern muddiers of the mind, God is "findable." Paul preached that "He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:27b-28a). Truth is knowable because the source of truth is knowable. It would reflect on the perfect character of God for Him to create us, then remove Himself from the affairs of life, to be shrouded in an impenetrable cloud of mystery. In the Bible, we have a roadmap that leads to the mind and heart of God! By it, we come to know Him (1 Jn. 2:3).
God must be sought with all our heart. Judah was guilty of heartless religion, ritualistic worshippers drowning in worldliness during the week then pretentiously entering His presence on the Sabbath, as if He could not see them the rest of the time (cf. Jer. 7). God rejects hollow honor and surface service. He requires the heart! But, remember that He is found when we search with all our heart (cf. Dt. 4:29). Isn't this part of the greatest command, to "love Him with all our hearts" (Dt. 6:5; Mt. 22:37). He wants service (Dt. 10:12), deeds (Dt. 26:16), obedience (Dt. 30:2), trust (Pr. 3:5), and repentance (Joel 2:12) to be done with all our heart.
The great search continues. How tragic that so many are on such fruitless quests, looking everywhere but where they should! May we who know where He is to be found search ourselves and show others where to look!