"...for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?" declares the Lord. Jer. 30:21
Previous to this verse, Jeremiah has been sharing about the future restoration of Israel. The Lord had pleaded with his people to turn from their wickedness. They refused to listen and and were taken into captivity by foreign governments. Yet God's mercy is extended and the beginning of this passage predicts the days to come when Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and the captives will come home with great rejoicing and honor. A leader will emerge from them who the Lord will bring near and close to himself. Then he asks the question, "Who will devote himself to be close to me?"
God is asking for relationship and intimacy. Amazing, isn't it, that our great big God seeks people like us to be close to him? How cozy does that sound? Who wouldn't want to say yes to an invitation to be tight with the God of the universe?
But notice that hefty word 'devote' in the invitation. Responding to the call may require more than a glib yes.
I haven't found devotion to be my forte. My heart has said, "yes,Lord" to many things, but how many of them have I stuck with? What would it look like to devote myself to being close to God?
James 4:8 says, "Come close to God and he will come close to you". (Amp Bible) The rest of the verse challenges us to purify ourselves of wavering, divided interests, disloyalty and spiritual adultery. I know he will never leave me or forsake me, or withold his presence and love from me even while I'm multitasking all those divided interests. But I think I'm seeing just a bit more clearly how the intimacy with God that I desire doesn't come automatically or easily.
Lord, I want to be close to you. Yet, inside I feel the struggle. How badly do I want that? Am I devoting myself to being close to you or am I just hoping it happens as I go about doing life and being satisfied that you are with me. Please continue to call and draw me. Forgive me for resting too long on the plateau of comfort. Stir my heart to true, passionate devotion to being close to you. Forgive my involvement in divided interests. As much as I know how right now, I purify my heart, and I'm coming closer, Lord. How I need you! How I need your help to keep me drawing near to you! Show me and teach me how to lay aside the things that compete for my devotion to you.
As a deer pants for water-that devoted!
As not living by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God-that devoted!
As loving you more than father, mother, son, daugher-that devoted!
As laying down my life for my brother-that devoted!
As forgiving as I've been forgiven-that devoted!
As loving you with all my soul, heart, mind and strength-That Devoted!