Jeremiah’s Plans (02-10-21)
Jeremiah was a prophet in Israel during one of its darkest periods. Despite warnings from him, the nation turned away from God and was eventually conquered by the Babylonians. The people then spent around seventy years in exile in Babylon.
In contrast to Jeremiah’s previously dire warnings, he now prophecies hope to the people in exile.
Bible Reading: Jeremiah 29:10-13, 33:3
This is what the Lord says:
When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
We all go through times in life that seem to be a struggle. It may be a stressful time in the family, it may be a difficult time at work, it may be an illness, it may be some changes in life that we need to work through, or it may be just an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Sometimes we may be able to see beyond the problem and know that once it is passed, life will get back to normal. Sometimes we can feel so trapped that we can see no way out.
I think Israel was like this when they were in exile in Babylon, struggling so much with the present that they were unable to image a brighter future. Into this situation Jeremiah tells them that their exile will come to an end, that God has not forgotten them, and that they will return to the better times they once knew. His challenge to them was to seek God with all their heart and to call upon him, for he will answer.
The same is true for us when we feel as if we are in place of exile. Seek God in the situation, for he is there; call upon him, for he will lead you out.
Jeremiah also reminded the people that, in spite of the current circumstances, God's plans to bless them were still in place. As God said to the nation of Israel, so he says to each of us ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.
Notice that God’s plans are general rather than specific. I wonder if Jeremiah is saying that God’s main concern is to create an umbrella of blessing, under which he can prosper and flourish. While he will always answer us when we call on him for guidance and wisdom on the smaller details of life, the scriptures give us the umbrella under which we can find protection, as well as prosperity and blessing.
When it feels that I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, thank you Lord that you are with me and will lead me safely out, and that your plans to bless me are still in place.
Blessed be your name