They will go with their flocks and herds
To seek the Lord, but they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn from them. Hosea 5:6 TLB

This isn’t very encouraging, is it? If God promises He will never leave us or abandon us, how can it be that this verse is saying that they will not find Him because He has withdrawn from them?

I have been studying the book of Hosea recently, so I have been reading a lot about how Israel rebelled against God and worshiped idols. Hosea also says that they look everywhere for relief from their sufferings. In your own Bible read Hosea 7:14 (Go ahead, I’ll wait).

In my Bible, it says, “They lie there sleepless with anxiety but won’t ask my help. Instead, they worship heathen gods, asking them for crops and for prosperity.” (TLB) Instead of crying out to God in heartfelt prayer asking God for help, they lay there anxious and crying then go to their idols expecting lifeless gods to produce a crop of grain and new wine.

Sometimes when we say we are seeking God, what we are really seeking is a spiritual experience that will satisfy us. We go to church on Sunday, we sing songs about Jesus, and we may even trace the shape of a cross on our forehead, lips, and heart. It’s not that these actions are bad, or wrong, but like the Israelites who were seeking God with theatrics, ritual, and sacrifices, something is missing.

What is missing? The book of Jeremiah has the answer for us.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13

It’s no wonder they couldn’t find God. It’a not surprising they didn’t feel His presence. They couldn’t find Him because they were not seeking Him with their hearts. We would never do that, would we? Well, unfortunately, we do the same thing. We lay awake at night instead of trusting His plan. We accept anxiety instead of resting in His peace. We seek religious acts instead of a relationship with Him.

When we’re chasing after other things, we’ll never experience the fullness of God’s presence. 

Finding God doesn’t mean we have to go to church, have a good study Bible, or have a seminary degree. (Whew!) God guarantees you will find Him if you seek Him with your whole heart. The good news is that God is gracious in the midst of our wandering — inviting us to come back to Him, offering us the chance to begin again. It’s not too late! Starting today can seek Him through reading His word. You can draw near to Him in prayer. Love God with everything we have available for loving and honoring God. This includes our families, pets, clothing, and our time. It includes the movies we watch, the music we listen to and what we do on our electronic devices.

What is God asking you do to wholeheartedly seek Him?