4 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Find wives for yourselves, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. 7 Pursue the well-being[a] of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.”
8 For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them, 9 for they are prophesying falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
10 For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”
Jeremiah 29:4-14 CSB
So often Jeremiah 29:11 is plucked out of the pages of Scripture and we happily declare that God plans to give us hope and a future. While this is true, have you ever been guilty of assuming that God’s hope and plan were synonymous with your immediate blessing and comfort? Hope feels good when it’s wrapped in the package of our own plans and expectations.
But God knows the plans HE has for us. And often those plans are nothing like we expect.
When we read Jeremiah 29 as a whole, we see the important context: God’s people have been relocated from their home in Jerusalem to the foreign city of Babylon. This is not where they want to be. Losing their homeland, their freedoms, their culture, and everything known probably felt like the opposite of hope. They likely felt discouraged, overwhelmed, lost, and hopeless. Have you ever felt like that?
This is the backdrop for God reassuring His people that He still has a plan, that He is still in control.
Isn’t it interesting that God’s plan to send a Savior to the world also unfolded in a way that no one expected? The promised Messiah was expected to come as a mighty military leader ready to overflow the Roman government — not as a baby swaddled in a manger, or as a carpenter turned radical preacher.
But here’s what God has been trying to teach His people throughout all generations: His ways are higher. His ways are full of true hope!
Our circumstances may not feel good or make sense in the moment, but we can trust God. He is the promise of hope we can hang on to.
Today marks the second Sunday in the season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Join us here at (in)courage each Sunday during these weeks as we learn about the promises of God and count down to Christmas together.
Make the season bright by reflecting on these promises from God. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, make time to quiet your heart and hear from His.Leave a Comment