Seek the Peace (3)
“You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the LORD…”
Jeremiah 29:13, 14
In exile from their beloved promised land, the people of Jerusalem had a choice: they could either moan and lament for their condition of chastisement and exile, or they could look to the promises of God and let that be the horizon which defined their journey during this season of captivity in Babylon. However bad it may have been under Nebuchadnezzar’s boot, the promises of God would not fail; He would be steadfast in His love and faithful to His Word. Israel’s hope, and the resolve and strength such hope engenders, depended on their ability to keep their eyes on the promises of God, especially in the midst of their difficult trial.
With their eyes firmly fixed on the promises, Israel now had a second duty it must fulfill. God commanded His people to seek Him, promising that, if they would do so with all their hearts, He would be found by them, and would restore His blessings. This must have puzzled the people of Israel, as they read these words from Jeremiah in the midst of their captivity in Babylon. Wasn’t God dwelling in Jerusalem? In the temple He had commanded them to build? How could they expect to find God so far away from home?
But the exiles who truly knew the Lord – like Daniel, for instance – understood that the temple was not the only, or even the primary place where God could be found. When Daniel needed the presence of the Lord, for strength to seek the peace of the Babylonian Empire, he turned to Him in earnest prayer and faithful reading and meditation in the Word of God.
We get a glimpse of how one faithful believer sought God with his whole heart in prayer. In chapters two and four, faced by crises and threats, Daniel went to the Lord in prayer. We see him praying earnestly on his own, enlisting his friends to help him in prayer, and praying every day three times a day, seeking the Lord as often as he could for strength to serve Him well. In chapter nine Daniel again turned to prayer, but this time in response to his reading of the same book of Jeremiah that we are considering all this week. As Daniel read in the scroll of Jeremiah, seeking the Lord and His will, he discovered in Jeremiah 25 that Israel was to be returned to the land after seventy years of captivity. He must have tallied up the years he’d been in Babylon and realized that the time had come. Now in earnest prayers of confession and pleading, Daniel sought the Lord to fulfill all that He had promised.
This is the way to gain the Lord’s presence and His promises, when we turn to Him in faithful reading and study of His Word and diligent, earnest prayer. God promised Israel that He would be found by them when they sought Him consistently like this. Daniel realized that it was so; it remains so for us today. As we strive to know the promised blessings of the Lord in the midst of an increasingly hostile age, we must commit to seeking Him – in His Word and prayer – more fervently and consistently than ever before. God promises that, if we will, we will find Him, and in finding Him, find the strength we need to serve Him faithfully, right where we are.
Start your own ViewPoint discussion group. This week’s series is available in a free downloadable format, suitable for personal or group study. Download the series, "Seek the Peace."
For more insight to this topic, get the book, Sidewalks in the Kingdom, by Eric O. Jacobsen, from our online store. Or read the article,
“Why Words Matter: Building the House of Prayer,” by T. M. Moore.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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