I am really loving this little book I am using for my devotions each night before bed (A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God). And yet, it isn’t the book that is working on my heart, it is God as I read His Word, pray and journal (something I don’t always do, but am doing this year). A couple of nights ago, the scripture reading was one that I have read over and over and even have parts of which memorized, but that night, something caught me differently.
10 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. 11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 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.” (Italics mine.)
Usually verse 11 is the one that sticks out in this passage, and it is often quoted. But what got me was the last part of the last verse – “and will bring you back to the place from which I CARRIED you into exile.”
When we think of exile, we think of banishment. We think cast out. We think pushed away. We think hands off. We think “I’m done with you.” But that isn’t what this says. This says that God CARRIED them into exile. That means that He was there, in exile, with them. That means that even in exile, His presence was there. And that when the exile was over, He would carry them back.
There’s a reason that He says in verse 13 that “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We will find Him because we are in His hand. He is right there, even when we don’t realize it. Even when we feel like we are in exile.
I don’t know about you, but I seem to be seeking God about a number of things these days. I am asking for His wisdom, His direction, His provision. And you know what, I am finding Him. Maybe not in the ways I think I will. And sometimes the answers are not what I thought they would be. But He is there. He is answering. He is holding me in His hand just like he promised in Isaiah. 41:8-10.
8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
What are you seeking Him about these days? Are you feeling like you are in exile?
Seek Him. You will find Him. Because He is carrying you. And you don’t get heavy. 🙂