13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
This is an exhortation found in the concluding section of a letter that the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Jewish captives who were deported from Jerusalem to Babylon in 597 BC. He knew that the Jewish people would have a difficult time in that heathen nation. So in that letter, Jeremiah, like a very concerned pastor, sought to instruct and encourage them. He told them how they should conduct themselves in that heathen land so that they may be good witnesses to the idolatrous Babylonians.
Jeremiah also warned them not to follow the false Jewish prophets who were among them. He wrote, “Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD” (vv. 8-9). Those false diviners had given the Jewish captives the false hope of a quick return to their homeland. But Jeremiah told them that God would bring them back only after 70 years; as such, they should live in peace in the land and work to establish themselves there. He admonished them not to be afraid nor discouraged. The prophet also reminded them of their responsibility to seek the LORD in prayer so that the divine promise of their return after 70 years would be fulfilled according to His Word.
God’s people should always seek Him in prayer according to the knowledge of His will, as revealed in His Word. His promise is that if they seek Him, they shall find Him. The LORD wants His people to search for Him wholeheartedly. Even when He chastises His people for their sins, He graciously calls them back to Himself. His chastening is to remind His children that only when they diligently and sincerely seek Him, shall they enjoy His presence, provision and protection. The Lord shall not hide Himself away from His people forever. It is His pleasure to draw near to all who would draw near unto Him at His gracious promptings in their hearts. He will hear their prayers of repentance and forgive them. He will give them His peace even in the midst of their many afflictions. Whatever be the circumstances of their lives, He will draw near to all who genuinely seek Him in prayer. Do not doubt whether He will receive you if your heart is moved to seek Him. He seeks us before we seek Him. Our “search” for Him is the response of our hearts to His invitation.