God’s Plans

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February 5, 2023

This week we read the rest of Jeremiah from chapter 21 to 52. The Jewish nation has forsaken the Lord, and worshipped idols. Jeremiah was the prophet who, for 40 years, pleaded with the nation to give up their false gods, but they would not listen. God warned them that they would be disciplined for not worshipping the LORD. In 605 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem and took 10,000 Jews into his city, which included Daniel and Ezekiel.

It was during this time that Jeremiah wrote to the Jewish exiles 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.”

If we look at the chapter 29 of Jeremiah we get a better understanding of the circumstances.

This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem 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 was after King Jehoiachin[a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “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.” 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.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

As you can see in verse 1-3, Jeremiah is writing to those in exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. He tells them what the LORD said in verses 4-9. He wants the people to build homes while in exile, plant gardens, marry and have children. They should seek peace and prosperity while in Babylon. In verse 10, he says that after 70 years have passed, the LORD will bring the nation of Jerusalem back to their promised land.

You see, God tried for 40 years, through the prophet Jeremiah to get the Jewish nation to turn back toward God. They refused. They were seeking idols made from wood and metal. God disciplined them by giving them over to the Babylonians. He did this so the nation would turn back toward God. This was only going to be for 70 years.

It was at this point that the LORD said 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.”

After this the Lord said that they would call on him, pray to him and seek Him with all their heart. He will gather them again and bring them back to Jerusalem.

Even when we continue to wrong and God disciplines us, he has a plan for us.

Jeremiah 1:5 says about Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

God had a plan for Jeremiah from the time before he was born and that was to be a prophet to the nation of Israel.

God had a plan for the nation of Israel even when they sinned and turn their back on God. After 70 years they were to prosper and not receive harm, to have hope and a future. They would call upon the LORD, pray to the LORD and seek Him with all their heart.

God has a plan for you too. Like Jeremiah, God knew you before you were formed and has a plan for you as well. Like David in Psalm 139:16, “All the days ordained…were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Some people reject 29:11 because there are preachers who state this verse promises wealth and success. That is not true. God does, however, have a plan for us. He gives us purpose and a life that matters. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God had a plan for the nation of Israel. He wanted their worship. Instead, they worshipped idols. Because of this, they were disciplined. God wants our worship as well. He does not want us to seek other idols. As Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

God has a plan for your life. In order for you to fulfill His plan, you must follow Him. Romans 8:28-30 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Are you following God? Are you seeking God with all your heart in order that God’s plan for your life be fulfilled?

If you would like to talk about this further, please send me an email. I would love to discuss this.

Next week we will read all of Lamentations and Ezekiel 1-15. Have a blessed week!

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