“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.
Jeremiah’s career as a prophet occurred at one of the most critical times in Jewish history. It is during his time that the Babylonians, under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar, attack and destroy the city of Jerusalem. Following the razing of Jerusalem, many Jews were deported to Babylon to live out the rest of their lives in exile from their homeland.
As God’s prophet during this period in Jewish history, Jeremiah preached a message encouraging Israelite repentance for their sins against God. For quite some time, the Israelites had neglected their covenant with God and had become deeply entrenched in the pagan culture of surrounding nations. False gods and idols were worshipped, sacrilegious sacrifices were offered, and all other sorts of blasphemous actions were taking place. Jeremiah proclaimed to all that would listen that judgement would soon be handed down by God if the people did not turn their hearts back to Him.
The people refused to repent, and judgment came. Babylon conquered Jerusalem, the Temple was destroyed, and the Jews were removed from their homeland.
But that is not the message Jeremiah’s words relay in 29:11. God, being just, loving, and forgiving, gave words of hope to the people of Israel. In a letter to those in exile, Jeremiah told the people that God was patiently waiting for them to return to Him, and that they would find Him if they searched for Him with their whole hearts. The people need only look for God diligently and He would reveal Himself to them; He would forgive them and restore them if they turned back to Him.
Today we are not much different from the Israelites of Jeremiah’s day. We have our own idols, we are focused on innumerable other things than God, and the result is a spiritual exile of sorts. We yearn for something of substance to offer us meaning and purpose; we yearn for God. All we must do is seek after Him wholeheartedly; unplug and disconnect from everything that distracts us, and focus only on Him. Then we will find the peace and calm and purpose that we all so crave.