Encouragement from Jeremiah 291
So many of us quote 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 a hope and a future.
This has almost become one of the Christian’s mantras, much like “and all things work together for good to those who love God...” (Romans 8:28)
But, how many of us have looked at the context of this verse? Jeremiah was prophesying to the fact that the Jews would be taken into captivity for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:12), and would serve Nebuchadnezzar. He is telling these exiles how to behave while in exile in this foreign land, where everything would be different. He is telling them to continue to build houses, and plant gardens and eat the produce from these gardens (Jeremiah 29:5), take wives and have children (Jeremiah 29:6). They were to continue to live life within their new restrictions. Exiles always had restrictions - where they could live and work, who they could associate with, where they could go.
In verse 7, God tells them to seek the welfare of the city where He has placed them and to pray to the Lord on their behalf, for in this way they too would benefit.
God also warns them not to be distracted by the rumors and lies that are being spread (Jeremiah 28:15). He tells them that there is an end to their exile.
Then God tells them that He has a plan and a future for them: that they will call upon Him and pray to Him and He will hear them (v12); that they will seek Him and find Him when they seek Him with all their heart (v13).
“I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (v14)
All this background information is to encourage you to seek the Lord at this time. As we are ‘housebound’ let’s use the extra time we have to get to know God better, to spend time with Him. Let’s pray for our neighbors, city, state, country, the world.
Most importantly let us be assured that through this all, God wants us to prosper in Him. He wants to teach us new things about Himself. He wants us to learn new things about ourselves.
Write these things down - the things about God and the things about yourself.
We are so quick to be negative about ourselves but find the positives (that is what God sees). I have discovered that I can appreciate the little things ... sunshine, fresh air, laughter, going for a walk, being creative (making cards to send to people). At this time there are people who cannot leave their room, home, garden ... appreciate that you can.
All this to encourage you that no matter what is happening, God knew about it before it happened and He will bring us through, like He did the Israelites. He has plans for every single one of us and these plans are to prosper us in our relationship with Him and in how we will serve Him in our future.
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