"For the Lord will scatter you among the nations, where only a few of you will survive. There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone – gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” (Deuteronomy 4:27-29)
The word invokes images of looking, looking hard for the lost. At best, it is a pot of gold. At worst, a plane suddenly disappearing over the vast ocean waters.
I wonder why God made it a search. This is not an exclusive Old Testament concept. Hebrews tells it the same way:
“Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
In one way – a simple, compelling, irresistible word. The God of the Heavens wants time with us. But Come also means leaving. Leaving one thing for another. Just like a successful marriage requires we leave our parents for our spouse. The leaving is required for the coming. And often it is the leaving that is the hard part, not the coming.
And what must we leave in order to come? “Idols made from wood and stone – gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell”
To search for God, we must choose to leave the temporal, unfeeling wood and stone of this, our earthly lives. We must leave: sleep, television, books, exercise, hobbies, work… It’s personal, but we know that they are. What to leave is obvious to the leaver. We know the price we pay to search. But do we also consider the reward? The New Living Translation notes say: “God will reward those who pursue a relationship with him.”
The Reward: A Relationship with the Creator
A plane lost at sea brings worldwide attention. Frantic loved ones wait. Skilled searchers worldwide gather their resources to locate. But whatever they hope to find, it will not bring back the lost.
The opposite is true in a search for God. To search for Him will end in relationship. Eternal. Loving. Life-transforming. Satisfying.
We need God’s grace and wisdom in this step of departure. This looking at the leaving, I am thinking, is an important piece of the searching process. First the decision to COME. Then the intentional, costly work of the LEAVING.
I wonder if God makes the Coming a Search to give us time to leave. The Leaving is as intentional as the Coming. The Find worth more because it cost us. And it cost God. Oh, how it cost! Calvary’s story.
I thank God for urging me to consider Leaving alongside Coming. One a hard push. The other an irresistible pull. May love win. Win every day in my life. Win everyday in the hearts of those whose lives I touch.
TO CONSIDER: A moment of stillness before God to ask what you need to leave, the courage to step away and what He promises to those who come.