(This extract continues on from here)
Jeremiah 29, verses 10 and 11 also show that God was using the captivity of the Judah as a tool to deliver them from the sickness of sin which had permeated their current existence. In addition to this, it was His plan to lead the Jews back into Shalom, (a place of peace, a state of long awaited and expected end to their ordeals, a future and a hope of deliverance and salvation) whereas those who remained in Judah, were condemned to death.
What similarities can we draw here?
As Believers we would like to believe that God has purged all sin from us, that is not the case, God also wants to remove us from the complacency of sin that we still reside in. He wants to heal us from our spiritual and psychological wounds and sickness. In order to achieve this we must be separated from those things which prevent us from Knowing him more fully, in my case it was my pride, my misguided self-worth and my need to control everything around me.
We must be placed in a situation which focuses all of our needs, all of our attention on God by placing us in a situation of hardship and discomfort. We can only imagine how down cast the exiled Jews must have felt being taken away from their home, they lost their song, there soul was heavy and burdened but they still had the hope that some day they would return home according to the Word of God given by Moses in Deuteronomy. This leads me onto the second stage.
Stage two – Refinement
Unfortunately, we often see God more clearly in hours of need, the Bible tells us that when we turn to God He turns to us (Zechariah 1:3). But even this is not a single momentary event but a process of refinement or sanctification. The word turn comes from the Hebrew word shuv/shub (H7725 – Strongs) which means to turn back, to return, come or go back, restore, refresh, repair, bring back, reverse, it is the root word or origin word for another Hebrew word teshuvah/teshubah which means repent/turn back to YHWH God.
Here God is saying that His people are missing something, they are incomplete and need healing (restoration, refreshing, repairing) which can only be achieved when we turn back towards God and He turns back towards us. Think of sanctification as the process of being exposed to more and more of who God is, the closer He comes to us the more we feel the fire of His refining presence at work within us, we all know that this process although our deepest heart’s desire is not a pleasant one but takes a commitment and a willingness to shuv. Here is a scripture illustrating this truth that I personally love and which has spoken to me time and time again. God said to the captives through Jeremiah the prophet:
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
(Jeremiah 29:12-14, ESV)
What is YHWH God saying here?
There is one word in the passage that struck me when YHWH first led me here and one that I pray has struck you too, that word is ‘then’. There is a moment in time called ‘then’, this is the allocated time given for our refinement process to be complete in the sense that we are now ready to enterback into our place of promised rest. This is signified by our diligently seeking God with all of our heart. When that time arrives, when we have prayed and prayed, begged and cried, tried every alternative avenue and then truly surrendered ourselves to God, this is when He promises to hear our prayer and that is when we will find Him and He will answer us.
Although, the journey may seem difficult, do not give up hope, be like the Israelites who held on to the promise of God. I do firmly and honestly believe that God does want to heal His children of whatever ills they may be going through whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual and there are many scriptures which confirm this. However, I do not believe that true healing or shalom can be achieved by simply going to a pastor and being prayed over, it is a journey one undertakes with YHWH holding us by the hand.
Ask yourself this question…
if God was to instantly give you everything you felt you needed, how happy would you be? How long would it last?
I often say that even if God came right now and gave us everything we felt we needed that we would still be unhappy, which shows that true happiness is much more than the body or material possessions and it is something which can only be given by the Author of Shalom. Yahushua Himself taught us that our life is much more than food and clothing but we often find ourselves distressed because of material difficulties. Messiah came to give us His Shalom and show us how to live life more abundantly in and through Him. One scripture I particularly hold on to is Luke 12:32:
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
How awesome is that? God desires to give us the Kingdom. HalleluYAH, it’s time for us to start supporting God in His will and desire for us and seek God with all of our heart.
(Learn more about the Hebrew meaning of repentance)