Jeremiah 29: 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord. 10 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart…
V.11 is a particularly well-known verse with universal application. God creates with purpose in everything he creates, including people. God indeed formed you and me to serve him and to do his will on earth. What I find interesting this morning is the context in which v.11 is given.
The people of Israel finally paid the price for their unfaithfulness to God, being conquered by Babylon and sent into exile as slaves. In this section of Jeremiah we learn that many prophets of Israel had been saying their captivity would be over quickly, but Jeremiah said otherwise as we read in v.10, “Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you…”. In other words, they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon – no matter what the other so-called prophets were saying. But then there is the promise of v.11 that captivity wouldn’t last forever, that God had not forgotten them, that Israel would indeed have a future.
I don’t know what your situation is as you read this blog post today. Maybe things are going well and maybe they’re not. We are all living in a time of uncertainty as the Covid pandemic drags on. Whatever your situation know that v.11 is true for you and me today. God indeed has a plan for us, and in that knowledge there is hope for us. No matter what our circumstances. Lord let it be so. Amen.