By Ron Bartanen
No one finds God by accident. God’s word declares, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). These words were given by God through His prophet, Jeremiah to the nation of Judah, a people who had broken covenant with God, despising His laws and going after other gods. They were a people destined to be captives of foreign powers for centuries to come. They had ignored the stern warnings of Jeremiah, and prior prophets, heeding only those who spoke comforting words. However, they were not left without hope. God would not utterly forsake His people. If, through their sufferings, their hearts could be turned back to God, to seek Him once more, He would again be willing to receive them. It would have to be, however, with “all your heart.”
While this promise was spoken collectively to a nation, obviously it could never become a reality until those within the nation individually responded to God’s call. In making application to us, conditions in our nation are becoming alarmingly similar to conditions in Judah just before their destruction. A people who once affirmed themselves to be “one nation under God” have effectively sought to confine Him within the walls of church buildings. His laws are now regarded as archaic, and to try to uphold them is to invite charges of bigotry and hate. As a nation, like Judah , we have lost God. Our prayers and efforts should be to call men back to God, urging that all seek Him, for “He is not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27).
But how may we seek Him? While much could be said in answer to this question, one is basic. We cannot seek and find God apart from His word. They would seek in vain who would rather trust the words of philosophers, cult-leaders, or even preachers that claim to speak for God apart from God’s word. Even those in the city of Berea that questioned the apostle Paul’s preaching were declared noble, for “they searched the scriptures daily (to see) whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). True preachers of the word will not contradict Scripture, which is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:;16-17). When Satan, the master of deception, lures us from the standard of Scripture, man is left with the words of those who would speak “contrary to the doctrine” the apostles taught, and who “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18). In seeking God with our whole heart, may we be reminded that God’s eternal and infallible word has not ceased being a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path (Psalms 119:105). He is wise who will read it, study it, believe it, and obey it. “Seek the LORD while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).