So often we enjoy “soundbite scripture”, Jeremiah 29:11 is the perfect example:
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.
For all of us facing difficulties, the HOPE OF THE LORD is precisely what we need. Let’s dig deeper, as there is so much more to this teaching than the soundbite. There’s an action plan for living in not so perfect times.
A major prophet (meaning a thick chunk of the old testament chapters), Jeremiah speaks to an exiled people, in chapter 29, and relays a message that urges them to prosper in exile, multiply, and live well. (Few verses below, but not all 52 chapters, wow). He especially told them to do their best while waiting to be delivered.
What if God told you to do the best that you can with whatever life has handed you? Even better, God says: do the best with what I AM helping and blessing you with!!!! Would you choose to bloom where you are planted? Or sit and stew? Put your energies into living well with no qualms? Or holdback to wait for greener pastures, even pass over blessings to ask: You got anything better????
What if our own placement is temporary, and it is, well that doesn’t mean to NOT till the soil. PERHAPS we are preparing something for the Lord to use, even if we don’t see it, even if we won’t see it bloom, or even if it is not for us. So, until the time you get moved on to another pasture, keep your mind on the matter at hand – as well as your hands on the plow – and maybe in prayer you will get a handle of where and what God is moving you to.
In exile, aren’t we all in exile from the Garden of Eden? In transition, aren’t we all temporary on Earth? In place, aren’t we all currently somewhere? In momentary pause, aren’t we each evaluating our lives? Especially now? In movement, aren’t we supposed to be ready to go where the Lord takes us.
If we are called, we should listen.
If we are calmed, we should quiet.
If we are to continue, we should continue.
Watch out for the derelict deceivers, seek the Lord. Seek the peace, prosper and PRAY…
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
Wherever you are today, seek and praise the Lord.
Jeremiah 29 – A letter to the exiles
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. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin 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.) 3 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:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 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. 7 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.” 8 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. 9 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. 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.”
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