Bringers of Peace (3)
“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…” 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, and live in withdrawal and fear; 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 had not changed, and they would not fail. He would remain steadfast in His love, and faithful to His Word. He waited to bless the people of Israel with revival and renewal in their relationship with Him, so that they could be ready to bless their world with the knowledge of the gift of His Son.
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. They could choose to seek the Lord, and find Him and His promises with new vigor and power, or they could simply hunker down, play at religion, and hope for the best. The choice was theirs.
The duty to seek
With their eyes firmly fixed on the promises, Israel now had a second duty. God commanded His people to seekHim, promising that, if they would do so with all their hearts, He would be found by them, and would restore to them 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? Which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed? 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 knew that the Lord was near; he turned to Him in earnest prayer and faithful reading and meditation in the Word of God.
Seeking the Lord
With Daniel, we get a glimpse of how one faithful believer sought God with his whole heart in prayer. In Daniel 2 and 6, 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. As Daniel read in the scroll of Jeremiah – the same book we are studying in this series – 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 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.
How is it with you? As you go forth into your Personal Mission Field each day, sent like Jesus to bring peace to the world, have you prepared well by coming into God’s Presence in prayer and meditation? Do you bring before Him the people you will see that day, seeking His guidance for how you might be a blessing to them? Do you search His Word for guidance and wisdom to live as salt, light, and leaven in our sad and dreary world?
In a world of darkness and unbelief, you can simply try to avoid its wickedness, corruption, and sorrow. Or you can live like Daniel, daily seeking the Lord, living toward the promises of God, and bringing His peace into all the places and people of your life.
1. How would you describe your present practice of seeking the Lord? Do you see any ways this could be improved?
2. Do you pray for the people in your Personal Mission Field?
3. Do you try to find something from God’s Presence each day to take with you into your Personal Mission Field? Can you give an example?
Next steps – Preparation: Begin praying daily for the people in your Personal Mission Field. Let God’s Word lead you each day concerning what you should pray.
T. M. Moore
This week’s study, Bringers of Peace, is available in a free PDF download, suitable for individual or group use. Simply click here.
Our booklet, Joy to Your World!, can help you get into a more consistent groove as a joy-bringer to the people around you. It will help you identify, map, and begin working your Personal Mission with greater fruitfulness. Order your copy by clicking here. Order two copies, and work through it with a friend. For more insights to God’s purpose in sending His people into captivity in Babylon, see our Scriptorium study on the book of Isaiah (click here for all 23 installments in the series).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.