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. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. Jer. 29:11-14
A few years ago, while we were fasting, the Holy Spirit showed me that there was a condition to Jesus’ promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened (Matt. 7:7).” It was stated in our passage for today, also in Deuteronomy 4:29, that in order to find him, we must search or seek him with all of our heart. The old song comes to mind here, ninety-nine and half won’t do! What does that have to do with one of the all-time most popular verses, Jeremiah 29:11? Everything! Did you ever notice the word “then,” followed by the part about seeking God with your all of your heart, immediately following verse 11?
I think the problem is that we get all excited and miss the first MAJOR point of the verse. Pastor Steven Furtick openly and honestly stated his problems with this verse because at first glance, when reading verse 11, it is not so reassuring. Furtick’s dilemma was with the fact that God knew the plans he had for him, but he didn’t. If you think about it, that is the real clincher when walking by faith, “God I know you have plans for me, and I know they are good, but what are they?” Can you still trust in his plans for you life while not knowing?
The proph-a-liars in Babylon were saying that God was going to turn the captivity of the exiles quickly and return them to their homeland. Jeremiah said God was going to do return them, but they must sit tight in Babylon, have children, work their jobs and prosper until seventy years are completed. The “then” is somehow tied to the word of the Lord to take the exiles back home, but to me, it is perplexing. If it was tied to the prior verses, it would read something like this, “Then (when I take you back home) you will pray and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with your all your heart.” If we tie “then” to the proceeding verses, it would instead read something like, “Then (as you obey the word Jeremiah gave to wait for me to take you home) you will pray and I will answer you. You shall seek me and find me when you search for me with your whole heart. I will be found of you and I will restore your fortunes, gather you from all nations, and take you back home again.”
The devil will always give you a word that will cater to your flesh, like, “Today, God is getting you out of this mess.” That is why we have to be able to hear, know, and follow the voice of Jesus only. The truth is, while we hold on to God’s promise (for our hope and our future), stay put where God has placed us and be busy doing what he told us, pray to him, seek him (and his plans) with our whole heart, we will find him, he will restore our fortunes, he will gather us no matter how far we have strayed off course, and he will take us back home. That’s a good hope; that’s a good future, and it’s worth waiting for!
Let’s pray today that we would be united in our prayers and in seeking the face of God with our whole hearts, and as we do, we will find him and his glorious plans will be revealed.