VERSE IMAGE OF THE WEEK
This is probably one of the most popular or known verses from the Bible. It is a beautiful and reassuring promise from God for His people. I believe that its context and meaning are very important for us today.
The first section of Jeremiah 29 is a letter written by Jeremiah to the two southern tribes of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah, who were in exile in Babylon. It is specifically addressed to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets, and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This letter was not only for the leadership, but for every person captured.
Being in exile must have been extremely tough. I can only imagine how they must have felt in a foreign country, with foreign customs, living as slaves. They were to be in exile for 70 years as punishment for their disobedience and idol worship.
Still, during this time, the Lord sent an encouraging message through Jeremiah 29. From verse 4, we read that the Lord encouraged them to continue with a fruitful life. They had to build, settle down, eat, plant, marry, and produce. They had to increase and not decrease. This was no time to wallow or complain. They had to live and make their lives count in the midst of their suffering. They had to prosper. They had to seek peace. They had to pray for the city of their exile. They had to take heed not to listen to false prophets of the region but to remember what God had promised them in verses 10 and 11.
“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years [of exile] have been completed for Babylon, I will visit (inspect) you and keep My good promise to you, to bring you back to this place. Jeremiah 29:10 AMP
I think likewise we are called to rise above the circumstances we might face in the world because God is good and has good in store for us. We have to remember that God keeps His Word. He does what He promises to do. Even though life may be challenging, different, and uncertain, we can learn valuable lessons from Jeremiah 29. Lessons such as: moving forward, continuing with our responsibilities, remaining productive, giving, helping, always creating, praying more, praying for our enemies, neighbors, and leaders, seeking peace with others, and listening to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. 2021 is not the time to become stagnant, ineffective, and unproductive because of anxiety and uncertainty. It is a time to keep on doing good and to remember the promise God gives us in verse 11.
Just as the Kingdom of Judah had to remember, we have to remember that God knows the end, as He does the beginning and middle. Things may look and feel chaotic, crazy, and disastrous. Still, God is on the throne. He knows you, your life, and where you are going. He knows because He remains in control of it all. The Hebrew word for know is yada. It means to know by seeing or to be intimately acquainted with. God knows every intricate detail of His children’s lives and their futures.
“Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past; For I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, And from ancient times the things which have not [yet] been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will do all that pleases Me and fulfills My purpose,’
Isaiah 46:9-10 AMP
God has plans for you. Not just one plan or one chance for success, but many plans throughout your life. Therefore, there is always a plan at work or coming to fulfillment at the appointed time. These plans are for peace, well-being, goodness, and prosperity. Though the enemy may try and derail you with his schemes, lies, and threats, God’s will shall always prevail. The enemy has been defeated. We can move forward in victory towards all God has for us. He is our hope, and He remains with us in the future, no matter the circumstances.
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
Psalms 139:17 AMP
God is mindful of you. You are constantly in His thoughts. Imagine a couple who is in a new romantic relationship and deeply in love. They cannot think about anything else but the person they are in love with. God’s thoughts are more consistent than that. You are in God’s thoughts every second of every day. He has not forgotten about you. God’s thoughts are unlike human thoughts. They are endless and filled with His love. The Hebrew word for thoughts in Jeremiah 29:11 explains that they are purposefully weaved into our lives.
After this promise, Jeremiah continues to write how they should respond because of that knowledge. Likewise, we should seek God as our most important priority, pray to Him and strengthen our relationship with Him. He promises to restore us if we do.
Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will [free you and] gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
Jeremiah 29:12-14 AMP
Let’s not only remember verse 11 but respond as God encouraged the Kingdom of Judah to do in their time of exile. Increase your sphere of influence, make a difference, grow, move forward, pray for your country, your enemies, and your families, choose to focus on the Word of God as your highest authority, and seek God and His will above all else. He will not disappoint. At the appointed time He will fulfill all He has promised: the peace, the good, the prosperity, the hope, and the restoration.
Stay resolute my friend.