August 17, 2015

Jeremiah 29:13-14 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

This letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon is significant for a number of reasons. In the first place, it was a written document from the start, so there is every reason to trust that the content has been transmitted accurately down through the centuries. Actually, Jeremiah was very much a writing prophet, because the Lord kept telling him things like, “Write in a book all the things I have spoken to you.” (Jeremiah 30:2) In the second place, the very nature of this letter meant that it was probably copied many times early on, which is all the more reason we would have a reliable version of it today. (Actually, God has been very careful with the transmission of His Word in all areas. One of the most shocking things about the Dead Sea Scrolls when they were discovered was that the virtually intact copy of Isaiah was essentially identical to the printed texts we have today, and those scrolls were hand-copied fully 2000 years ago.) With the authenticity established, we need to pay full attention to what the Lord is saying through Jeremiah. Many people say they are seeking God, but there remains a question of whether they are seeking Him with their whole heart. If we are honest, most of us have to admit to divided priorities. We know that seeking God is “the right thing to do,” but we also want fame, wealth, political power, physical pleasure, or what have you. Such divided priorities hide God from us and get us into all sorts of trouble. It’s not that those other things are necessarily bad in themselves (though our application of them can be) but that even the good can get in the way of God, if we ignore Him to pursue it. The thing is, everything else is fleeting; only God is eternal. We can never have full stability and security apart from Him. Here, God is saying that it is a matter of priorities, and He is promising that if our focus is sharp, we can’t miss Him.

I can’t say that my focus of God has always been sharp, which is ironic considering that I’m a photographer. Two things interfere with sharpness: focus and blur. I’ve got to be focused clearly on Him, and I have to be still enough that things don’t blur. Even if my focus isn’t off, if I’m in too much of a rush, things won’t be sharp. Starting each morning by consciously making the time to be quiet before Him, to receive what He wants to say to me through His Word, is invaluable for keeping things sharp. As a pastor I seek to help others grasp the importance and benefit of that, but people seem slow to take it to heart. I cannot force anyone to seek God with their whole heart, but I can set a good example, I can speak the truth in love, and I can pray for them. I need to do all those things faithfully, so that we may seek Him individually and as a church, and finding Him, walk in the obedient fellowship with Him for which we were created.

Father, thank You for being so gracious. You don’t have to be accessible to us, but that is Your choice. We take that grace so lightly! Help us grasp the magnificence of Your grace and love toward us so that we may respond fully, indeed seeking Your kingdom and Your righteousness above and before everything else, (Matthew 6:33) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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