Terry R. Baughman
“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”
The assurance of an answer is perhaps the greatest inspiration to faith imaginable. The phrase, “All you have to do is call … I will answer,” inspires confidence that we are not alone and help is near whenever it is needed.
God gave such an assurance to the nation in exile. Through the prophet, Jeremiah, God gave His word to an errant nation that had been judged for their unfaithfulness. An ever-faithful God not only had a future plan and favorable thoughts toward the Jews in exile, He was ready to hear their desperate call, answer their prayers, and be available and accessible when they sought Him.
Our failures and our rebellion against God never surprises Him or catches Him off guard. Omnipresent, He knows the end from the beginning. The prediction of the failure of His chosen people was recorded long before the people of Judah were taken into Babylonian Exile. Moses recorded the warning and the prophecy centuries earlier in the Book of Deuteronomy. In response to the idolatry of His people in the Promised Land certain judgment would be executed. Moses wrote, “And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell” (Deuteronomy 4:27–28).
After the predicted judgment there was also foreknowledge of their response and outcome, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. … When you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:29–31).
It was vital for the people of Israel to remember the Covenant of the Lord and the conditions of His promises. Upon the passing of Moses, Joshua received the assurance of God’s continued presence, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). The continuation of godly leadership and obedience to God’s commandments gave confidence of His continual connection with His people and guaranteed the fulfillment of His promises.
When the people forsook the commandments, violated the covenant, and rejected spiritual leadership they learned more about the integrity of their God and His continued faithfulness to the Covenant. The character of God is revealed in His treatment of those who spurned His love and rejected His plan. While He may bring judgment to those in rebellion there is always grace offered to those who will turn from their rejection and begin to seek God. To the one who turns to God for refuge and strength the Psalmist offered assurance, “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:15).
The prophet Isaiah declared a time when the answer comes before we even ask. He prophesied, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). God is so anxious to reach out to us that He moves toward us while we are still trying to frame the words of a prayer and gather the strength to call out for help. He is ever present to respond to our need. The writer of Hebrews reminded us of God’s promise, “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Remember His promise, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Rest assured, God answers!
“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).