Let’s read Deuteronomy 4:25-29: “When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD your God so as to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD drives you. There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (NASB).

We see that these words are addressed to the nation of Israel. God told them through Moses that they would eventually fall into idolatry and “make an idol in the form of anything.” In other words, God would be replaced in their hearts by other “gods.” This is most solemn, for God was jealous for their affections as we see in Exodus 20:2-5: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” Because of their disobedience and worship of other gods they would be removed from the land into other nations where they would continue to “serve gods.” Yet God would not abandon them; He would work in their hearts to show them the vanity of false gods and then produce in them the desire to “seek the LORD you God.” And then He gives them a blessed promise, “You will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Notice, Israel was to “seek the LORD” and “search for Him.” It’s not that He had forsaken them, but that their “heart and soul” had become DETACHED FROM HIM. In a word, their heart and soul had become so attracted to other gods that they had completely lost sight of the Lord their God. In order to “find Him” they would need to judge their “heart and soul”; that is, they would need to judge those things that had crept into their hearts and realize that they had given all their affections, time and money over to them. In doing so, they would also realize how those things did NOT satisfy their hearts and that only the LORD their God could bring true satisfaction. God spoke of this in Jeremiah 2:13, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, to hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Once their “heart and soul” were free from “false gods” there would be a longing to once again enjoy communion with “the Lord their God.” They wouldn’t merely desire to be “restored to the land” and its many blessings; they would, in their heart of hearts, want to experience a full “restoration to the Lord.”

The application of this to us is plain. We too, at times, give our hearts over to idols. It may be an object (like a house, boat, or car) or even a person (a wife, child, or someone else that we adore). Whatever it may be, it has taken the place of the Lord Jesus in our affections and all of our time, energy, and even money may be devoted to this person or thing. Yet God loves us too much to let us go our own way and He will work in our hearts (by chastening us) to bring us to judge those idols, and to produce a desire to once again enjoy holy fellowship with Himself. When this happens, we come to see afresh that only the Lord Jesus truly satisfies the “heart and soul.” Jesus said in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Psalm 107:9 declares, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” (227.1) (DO)