Those who know the Bible appreciate this passage. God’s people had been carried away captive into Babylon. They had lost their homes, their identities, and their precious city. Jerusalem–Zion–was destroyed with its temple. Walls of cities were broken down. The kingdom had been divided and we know that a kingdom divided against itself doesn’t stand. Israel had lost God. They opened their eyes hundreds of miles away in a strange land. They enjoyed victory over Babylon in the past but when they lost God, they lost their protection.
Jeremiah gives a wonderful prophecy. Have you lost God in your life? Have you lost your way?
Jeremiah 29:4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Can a person lose God? Is God–who is everywhere and in everything–loseable? The handprints of God are everywhere.
Apollo 15 landed in a rocky, difficult place on the moon. It was untouched by erosion. Scientists knew it was evidence of our creation. At a place called Hadley Rille there were black stones lying around. David Scott saw one sticking up and realized he was looking at something different. It was white just like when it was first formed. When he and James Irwin realized what they had, they held it between them. In awe they called it the handprint of God. It had not evolved. It was created. They gave God thanks for creating it. At that time the U.S. was going away from God. Universities were saying God was dead. But these men found evidence of creation. All of us are created. You’d think that Americans would have gotten closer to God but the opposite happened. By and large mankind has lost God.
When we were saved we found God. The most foolish thing we could do is to lose him. Most of us were raised in church. We were taught about God; yet we sinned and fell away from it. We lost God. He didn’t go away. How do you lose an unloseable God? You’ll always run into him. His handprints are everywhere. King Belshazzar saw those handprints when he took sacred vessels of the temple to a drunken party in the palace. The hand of God wrote him a message on the wall. You can’t get away from God but have you lost him, so to speak?
Israel forsook obedience and set up their own style of a relationship with God. They forsook God as their ruler and kings who followed other gods ruled. The government lost God and the people lost the privilege of God prevailing for them. There were conditions upon what God would do for them. Look back at the verses: pray, seek and search. That’s how we were saved. If we stop seeking; if we stop searching; if we stop yielding; if we stop calling on his name and go after what we want, we will lose God as focus of our life…and we’ll lose God.
God has made promises to us. We can all do this. We can appear to be the strong Christian and in reality not be where we should be. Israel started slipping, following other gods, focusing on everything but God and became captive to what pulled them from God. They didn’t even realize until they woke up in a land not their own.
Doesn’t this sound like our nation? I remember a different country. This is not the America I remember, nor the society I remember. I can’t be President or a member of Congress but I can stay put where God wants. Israel woke up captive because they lost God in their lives while still in their land. They thought they could do what they wanted and God would still bless them. They lost God but he had not lost them.
For 70 years they were captive in Babylon. The Bible teaches that the span of man is threescore and 10–70 years. A generation. The generation that followed after Baal and turned their backs on God died. To this new generation God gave a promise. They had lost all their training, all their knowledge and their victory. When you drift away from God no wonder you can’t pray. No wonder the Bible is confusing. You wonder why you don’t hunger for God, why you don’t like church, why everyone else is a hypocrite. Joseph and Mary headed home from Jerusalem and didn’t even realize Jesus was missing.
Somewhere along the way you lose God if you don’t stay in the right direction every day. Don’t shift your focus off the Lord or the devil will take it. Do the petty things of life consume you? Have you somehow lost God along the way? We all need to pray for America to find God again. That means we have to find him and stay in a continuing mode of finding him each day. I can’t make up my own way. I’ve had it with people who say they’re Christians yet like to run around, like to gamble, like to stay away from church, who think they can worship God in the antique stores on Sunday. If we’re going to be a Christian, let’s follow God. People have lost the idea of what it means to be a Christian. A person can do what Joseph and Mary did and lose God right in his own temple or church. God is tired of chants and memorized verses and prayers. He’s tired of us seeking our way and not his. If we don’t have the peace of God, we know where it is. God has not forgotten us.
He could strike us down; instead he says: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. We need to call on the Lord today. He’s a findable God when we search for him. Let’s not let him be the lost God. Find him.