Plans for good
Jeremiah 29:11 God wants His people to always have a future and a hope
Michelangelo, The Prophet Jeremiah, Sistine Chapel
In this book and chapter of the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah is hearing God’s pronouncements about the exile of His people to Babylon for 70 years. False prophets are telling the people that they’re going to be rescued any day now, while Jeremiah is speaking the truth; they’re going to be stuck in Babylon for much longer. God gives Jeremiah a message to pass on to His people:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Charles Spurgeon explained that Jeremiah had a huge task in front of him: “The prophet had the double duty of putting down their false hopes, and sustaining their right expectations. He, therefore, plainly warned them against expecting more than God had promised, and he aroused them to look for the fulfillment of what he had promised.”
In today’s verse, God is specifically tasking Jeremiah with giving the exiled Jews the truth, both about how long they’d be living in Babylon and letting them know that He was thinking of them and their bright future ahead.
Now, the exiles had gone through a lot at this point. God’s judgement had fallen upon their nation, so it would be easy for them to think that God intended nothing but evil for them. Through Jeremiah, God assured the Jews that His thoughts were good and that He had both a future and a hope planned for them. This is nothing new; God’s thoughts toward Israel under the Old Covenant always looked toward a hopeful future.
God wants His people to always have a future and a hope. Here, they were suffering in exile, hurting under discipline and judgement. Only Satan would want to rob God’s people of hope for the future to truly crush their spirit.
Jeremiah’s prophecies are historically accurate, as you’d expect from someone who is getting a message straight from God! The exile began with the Babylonian victory at Carchemish in 605 BC and ended when the first exiles returned to Jerusalem and Judah in 536 BC — a 70 year span.
Not all of the Jewish people returned to their homes at the end of the exile, something that God specifically had in mind for the future coming of the Messiah. By scattering the Old Testament and the synagogues through a number of lands both during and after the exile, God was planting the seeds of the arrival of the gospel in about 600 years later…
Remember this verse when you are facing a challenge in your life at any time. Even your most fervent prayers may not provide heavenly relief immediately, but you can rest assured that God has a plan for our lives. He will provide in all the situations in our lives, good or bad.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Thank You, Lord, for the plan You have created for all of Your children. Even when things are rough, let me trust Your Word of truth by knowing that Your thoughts towards me are only good. All things work together for good for those who love You, and work to fit Your plans and purposes into their lives. Continue to protect and provide for Your people, so that we may be Your hands and feet to grow Your kingdom. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The New Park Street Pulpit" Volumes 1-6 and "The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit" Volumes 7-63 (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990)