God Has a Wonderful Plan for Who?
The design of this next statement is with love. The words in Jeremiah 29:11 are not to you, me, or anyone living today! I think you will be happy to know that this verse is not about us when you understand why God says this to the people of Israel. The design of this post is to disable wrong thinking around the verse but also be an encouragement to you. Let’s start with a little background.
The Lord had been telling the nation of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to take them captive. God repeatedly warned the nation that this would happen but to also look out for false prophets that would say otherwise. A false prophet named Hananiah predicted that the nation would only be in exile for two years. God does not take kindly to false prophecies, so Hananiah received the penalty of death at the end of Jeremiah chapter 28. The actual prophet of God, Jeremiah, sends a letter to explain that God is going to send them into exile and gives them instructions on how to live while they are there.
God’s directions to the Israelites is to continue living while there in captivity. He commands them to build houses to live in, plant gardens to eat from and continue to grow their families. He also tells them to pray for the welfare of the city as it will go well with them if they do so. He warns them not to listen to people like Hananiah and those who practice divination. This information is in Jeremiah 29:5-7. God then provides them with the truth that includes Jeremiah 29:11.
Jeremiah 29:10 says, “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.” Israel was going to be in Babylon for 70 years according to God. His promise was to get them back to Jerusalem after the 70 years. Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise from God that He will not forget about Israel while they are in captivity, and they will not be destroyed. Think about how many nations have tried to eliminate the Jews over the centuries. It may have been a little nerve-racking for them to say the least. Jeremiah 29:11 is designed to let the people of Israel know that God will not forget the nation of Israel while they are in captivity.
How have we used Jeremiah 29:11? This writer is guilty as well! We may have used it and seen it in graduation cards. We may have used it to encourage others when they are ill. We may have used it to think and say that God has a wonderful plan for their life. We may have also used it to pray for and seek God’s help in finding a spouse, job or anything else that we think will make us happy. Again, the promise was to comfort Israel while they were in captivity.
Jeremiah Chapter 52 describes the capture of the Israelites and everything God predicted would happen. Israel still lives on today so we can see that God did fulfill His promise to Israel. What can give us strength today is knowing the character of God never changes. When God says something will happen, then it will happen. The same God, who promised and delivered Israel from Babylon, is the same God who has promised to give us eternal life in Jesus Christ.
God does have an excellent plan for the followers of Jesus. Jesus has already secured our deliverance from this sin-cursed world. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:39! The salvation that God has already secured for us through Jesus Christ is more valuable than anything this world has to offer. The promise of a comfortable life this side of heaven is not seen in Scripture, but we know we can take refuge that God has saved us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!