Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
Here we have a statement of God’s provision that is predicated on a change of heart. God provides a heart to know Him to those who repent and turn to Him. Recently a US TV personality, who claims to be a Christian, said that claiming Jesus speaks to you is a sign of mental illness. That proves she doesn’t have a relationship with Him based on repentance. The people described here included such notables as Daniel, who is a shining example of someone who indeed knew God on a very personal level. As a group, they experienced considerable hardship and shame, being hauled off to Babylon as prisoners, but God knew the experience would have the very desirable result of causing them to turn fully to Him. It has been said, very accurately I feel, that God is far more interested in our character than our comfort. Many people, secular as well as religious, have pointed out that everyone goes through difficulties, so the defining issue is not what we experience, but how we respond to it. This batch of exiles responded rightly, and God rewarded them.
I have said quite a few times that I don’t feel like my road has been as rough as those some people have to travel, but looking back, I see that outside observers might have been thankful they didn’t have to go through what I was experiencing! However, for most of my life I have had a rock-solid assurance that God loves me, and that has enabled me to get through it all, probably with a good bit more peace and joy than the average person. When knowing God and responding rightly to Him is my highest priority, I know I’ve got no worries about anything else. (Matthew 6:33) There are many unknowns in my life even today, but the hymn based on 2 Timothy 1:12 expresses my life very well. At this point the fourth verse of this hymn is particularly applicable: “I know not when my Lord may come, at night or noonday fair, nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him, or meet Him in the air.” Knowing God personally, as Paul told Timothy and as the Lord said to Jeremiah, makes all the other questions secondary. As a pastor, I want everyone in my care to have that assurance. As a child of God, I want everyone on earth to have the relationship with Him that I do.
Father, thank You for Your grace toward me. Help me share Your love and grace effectively, so that more and more people may indeed seek and find You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!