Friday, April 23, 2021

Your Whole Heart

 


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. “ – Jeremiah 29:11

We’ve all read that verse before, but have we read it in the context in which God spoke it? 

Here’s the scene.  All of Jerusalem and Judah were taken captive by Babylon.  This wasn’t a surprise – but was a surprise.  Jeremiah had already prophesied it to them.  They had worshipped idols and completely ignored God.  He told them that they would be there 70 years.  Yet, false prophets lied to the people saying God said something different.  False prophets love to tickle your ears with what you want to hear. 

So, the people are captive, and they know it will be 70 years.  God tells Jeremiah to go tell them that they should build houses, marry, have children, ”that you may be increased there, and not diminished”.  While God was punishing them, He did not want them destroyed. 

And then God says:

“For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ”  Jeremiah 29:10-12

God is telling them that it’s for 70 year, and then He will release them from captivity.  God was gracious to them to not leave them there with no hope of being released from the slavery they were in.  He’s also telling them that He still loves them.  His thoughts toward them aren’t evil.  This is punishment – not rejection.

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” – Jeremiah 29:13-14

God has told them they would be reunited with Him when the searched for Him, longed for Him, with “all your heart”.  That’s a passionate searching!  And then they would find him.  God was waiting for repentance from their hearts, and then “I will be found by you” He said. 

Once repentance was found in their hearts, the captivity punishment would be removed.  They would be back where they were, but honoring and worshipping God.

Our God is a jealous God.  He wants ALL our heart.  Why? Because He loves us passionately!  The sacrifice of Jesus for us defines passionate love.  Otherwise, there would be no punishment to cause us to return.  He would simply reject us.  But God rejects no man!  There’s no low you can reach that God won’t extend His grace.  And there’s no high you can reach that He won’t punish you when you stray. Job was a “blameless man”, yet God tested His love for Him. 

God’s thoughts toward us, today, are the same as they were for Jerusalem and Judah.  “Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”.  And yes, He is still jealous for ALL your heart as well.  Give Him your whole heart, and your heart will finally be whole.  Let Him be your God. Let Him embrace you as the everlasting Father.

 

 

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