Wholehearted Exiles

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13

Let’s pull a few more verses to get a better idea of what’s happening in the first half of Jeremiah 29.

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.””

Jeremiah 29:4-5, 7-14

Even though God’s people are in exile—torn from their homes, captives in a pagan land—God is near. He desires good for them. He will even allow them to prosper where He has placed them. He promises bring them peacefully home when He deems good.

In fact, the reason God removes them from the promised land and banishes them to Babylon is because of their continued idol-worship and His great mercy. He has patiently and consistently moved to turn their hearts, but each time their devotion quickly crumbled. To abandon them to revel in empty idolatry would be cruel. He exiled them precisely for the purpose of drawing them back to Himself.

And so He calls them to draw near to them: Seek Me wholeheartedly.

No matter what situation you find yourself in today: exile or abiding, wilderness or green pastures, chaos or the mundane, sunk in sin or rejoicing in His love, seek Him. Seek Him today: eagerly, sincerely, wholeheartedly.

He will be found.

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