Diligent searching or disdainful sniffing ∙
“You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 1:13
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
14 I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
Anhedonia is a rare and unusual word, what does it mean? Anhedonia is the loss of interest in previously fulfilling or pleasurable activities. It seems like the brain’s pleasure center goes dark and shuts down. But does it? Perhaps it is more like a rheostat light switch. We are simply suffering from a reduced capacity for pleasurable experiences. At any rate, the byproduct is boredom and disinterest where there used to be excitement and passion.
David, a man after God’s own heart eagerly pursued and sought personal time with the Father. He panted for it like a thirsty deer (Psalms 42:1). But determined, defiant disobedience entered his heart and the wind was knocked out of his sails.
It is way too easy in our hurried, distraction-filled lives to lose touch with our infinite, beautiful, delightful Father God. We turn up our noses and disdainfully sniff at Him and the things that matter most to Him (Malachi 1:13).
When this happens, and it sadly does way too often, how do we get back? Wishing things were better or perfunctory gestures of interest simply will not do. The problem is never with the Father. He is always there and available. He desires, even craves intimacy with His children. Diligence, determination, and wholehearted focus are necessary. Jeremiah puts it like this,
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
The book of Jeremiah was written against the background of the Babylonian captivity of the nation of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple (586 BC).
The history of Israel is sadly replete with rebellion and defiance of the Father. Again and again, the Father sent His servants the prophets to warn the people. For decades, Jeremiah himself prophesied of judgment to come. Finally, the ax fell, and the Babylonians swept through Israel in three successive waves 605 BC, 597 BC, and 586 BC. Large numbers of the children of Israel were killed, thousands were taken into captivity. Times were bleak and dark, and all hope for that generation was lost. It was the dark night of Israel’s collective soul.
REFLECT & PRAY
The judgment of God may come slowly, but it will come! But judgment is never the end, often it is only the beginning.
Father thank You that You have plans for me and those I love. Our future is secure because of You.
For 28 long chapters of his book, Jeremiah prophesied gloom and doom. After the judgment fell, the Father redirected Jeremiah’s message. He flipped 180°. Against the bleak and dreary shadow of dismal darkness, light burst through. The Father spoke of restoration, grace, joy, and a wonderful, new covenant filled with promises that were totally different from what had been given through Moses. It was as though Plan M (M for Moses) had played its course. It was tried and the results were always the same, failure. It was time to switch to Plan N (N for New).
Some of the most beautiful and precious promises of the entire Old Testament are now uttered through the old prophet’s lips. No doubt Jeremiah himself was totally awestruck with the wonderful assurances he uttered at the Father’s direction.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Nothing that had happened was a surprise or mystery. It was all part of a plan, the Father’s eternal plan. He knew how things were going to turn out in the end. The Father’s goal was for the ultimate good of His people. He has no interest in endless calamity, loss, and defeat.
This is the Father’s way. This is what His heart is like. The problem is never with the Father, He always wants the best for His children. The real problem is that they do not want what is best for themselves, they settle for far less. As long as that continues, they will never receive His best.
The same is true of us, each of the Father’s children. The tough part is desiring His best more than anything else, instead of our paltry, shortsighted desires.
How do we acquire a taste for the Father’s best? How do we get there from here? It is simple but at the same time most difficult. We must seek Him wholeheartedly. We must be all in. We must hold nothing back. We must not compromise. When we do exactly as He asks, He will listen. And we will find Him, and He will lovingly restore us.
13 “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
14 “I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
The Jewish people as a group are very similar to each of us as individuals. Their behavior is intended as life lessons for all children of the King. When the time of the exile was over, not everybody wanted to go home to the land of promise. They had grown quite comfortable where they were. Consequently, they did not wholeheartedly seek Him. He did not return all of them to the land and the prophecies were only partially fulfilled.
Have you settled for less than God’s best? Have you disdainfully sniffed and have halfheartedly pursued the Father? What have you left on the table?
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