I love it when a plan comes together!

27 Oct

Yeah thats right I managed to get an ‘A-Team’ quote into my blog. And if you don’t know who the A-Team are then shame on you, go find out. Hannibal (The cool, wise leader of the motley crew) would usually say his line after the team had pulled off an amazing escape or rescue planned by the main man.

And with this wonderful image in mind I want to draw your attention to what is possibly my favourite verse in the Bible. Jeremiah 29:11

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.

So many of us find such comfort in the Scripture found in Jeremiah 29:11. But we are in danger if pulling this verse out of context and making it mean whatever we like. I know of some church circles that use this verse as grounds to preach a prosperity gospel. The best way we can really grasp the truth of the verse is to put it into context.

The background is that Gods people were taken captive, they were in a foreign land, feeling far away from God, feeling forgotten and were losing sight of what the Lord had promised. Then word came via Jeremiah…

Verses 5-7: “Build Houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there, do not decrease. Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper”.

After a brief introduction of the Israelites’ less than ideal situation, God is telling them that they must “keep on keeping on,” they must “stay the course.” They are not to sit around, do nothing, and wait to be delivered. God wants them to have an abundant life in their current situation as they await the future plans he has for them. God wants you to live an abundant life now, even if your circumstances are less than ideal now. You must not sit around and do nothing. You must act.

Verses 8-10: “Yes this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to your and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.”

False prophets were telling the people what they wanted to hear and the people were trusting in them. As a people, the Jews would not return to the promised land until God was ready to return them. This is a classic lesson in God’s timing. God’s timing is not our own.

verse 11: “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.”

And here is “the verse of hope.” After God spent a few verses setting up the background of what the Jews were to do now and how long they would have to do it, He tells them that He has great plans for them.

verses 12-14(partial): “Then you will call upon 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. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

In these 3 verses is the key to understanding Jeremiah 29. This is the condition to receiving the plans that God has for us in verse 11.

We all experience obstacles and go through life’s trials. When we find ourselves in these situations we must not give up. We must do our part and continue living and being fruitful. God does have a plan for us but His plan might not be on our timing. We must seek Him with all of our hearts. Then and only then will we be able to experience the plans He has for us. Walking the path he would have us tread. God does want us to live an abundant life here on earth but the true plans He has for us will be realized when we meet Him.

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