One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. It is also the favorite of Steve, in my church, and Francine, in my BSF leader’s group. Why is this verse so beloved? Let me explain the hope and encouragement, the reassurance of who God is and His Sovereign control over all things that are found in this verse!
The full context of the verse occurs in a letter sent to the Israelites who had been taken into captivity. God wanted them to know that they were loved by Him and that He had future plans for their lives even though their current circumstances were troubled. Jeremiah 29:1 sets the stage: 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.” God wanted them to know that even though they were ‘gone’ from Jerusalem, the temple and their homeland; they were NOT forgotten or abandoned there. Jeremiah 29:10-14 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. 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.”
Here is God’s encouragement- WOW! 10) Be of good courage as I will bring you back home after 70 years in Babylon. 11) I know what the future holds for you and I’ve got this- it is good! 12)Your faith will continue and we will have viable communication. 13) When you look for me, you will find me! 14) I promise I’ll bring you home. The exile in Babylon had been caused by their own unfaithfulness to God, and yet God was confirming to them that they still were His and He would work in their lives to restore them. What a wonderful loving God! They had messed up big time, had not listened, had ignored his prophets, had worshipped other gods, and yet God still had them in the palm of His hand as He promised to care for them while in exile. Thankfully, the Israelites learned their lesson and did not stray into idolatry again after their return to Israel 70 years later.
That is the big picture, now to 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,” God knew the plans He had for Israel and the work He had planned for them. God is sovereign and knows all about me. I know He has plans for me and a purpose for my life in His kingdom. Because God is good in all things, I can rest assured that all His plans for me are good and will be successful. God’s plans are meant to give me hope and assure my faith and future. Those plans are not for a bigger house, car or better job, but are in relation to my work for Him in His kingdom. Our purpose is to glorify God in all we say and do and He has the very best places and plans for that to happen. Walking with Jesus, I can live assured that His way, though it may be hard, will produce good for me and will add to my future with Him. He has plans….my job is to keep the faith and seek to stay in His will doing things His way in His time.
Steve, Francine and I all love the assurance this verse gives and seek to claim its promises in our lives as we seek to live and serve Him. How about you? Do you see God’s plans as good? Do you trust in His goodness no matter what is happening around you? Circumstances can and do get very sticky and troubled. Keep your focus upon Him and trust in His sovereignty. Psalm 73:28 is my cry, along with David, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” Trust in Him and make the Sovereign Lord your refuge. Proclaim Him to those around you. Trust Him! He’s got this!