Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week #23 Jeremiah 29:11 "Always the Loving Father"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I love this verse. I love it so much that I have a framed copy of it hanging on my wall in beautiful calligraphy with the words "Be Encouraged" at the top of the picture.

Yes, this is one of those bible verses that we believers like to quote when the chips are down, when we need to know there is hope and more prosperous times ahead. This verse can indeed be quite encouraging.

But wait. Before we run away with visions of wealth and financial freedom, there are a few important questions we need ask first.

Is this prophecy from Jeremiah too good to be true? Does God really promise all believers prosperity and an limitless future? Is this one of those biblical promises that we can "take to the bank?" Just what is Jeremiah saying here, and to whom?

I think it is helpful to remember that Jeremiah was speaking to the Children of Israel during the time of their exile in Babylon. The Israelites had lost their homes, their freedom and (for some of them) their faith. Due to their chronic disobedience toward God, the LORD allowed their enemies to conquer them and take them into captivity.

But, despite their unfaithfulness, God showed Himself to be ever faithful and always the loving Father. He tells them that His plans for His people hadn't been cancelled. His love for them hadn't changed. Their future as God's children was still intact.

During a time when Israel felt they were at their lowest point, when their unfaithfulness resulted in mass incarceration, God went out of His way to tell them how much He still loved them. His plans for "prosperity" didn't mean financial gain, either. Instead, God was promising them an end to their time of trouble and restoration to their land and to Himself. And no, it wasn't a "get rich quick" scheme. Israel's captivity lasted 70 years. Not exactly instant gratification.

So, if God isn't necessarily promising all Christians prosperity and a great future in this verse, why do I love it so much?

I love Jeremiah 29:11 because it reminds me of God's faithfulness, no matter what. I, myself, have been in bad situations, many times due to my own poor choices. Although I end up paying a price for those life choices, God has never abandoned me. Yes, I've gone through tough times, and I expect that more tough times may be in my future as well. But this verse is God's encouragement to me during those times.

I know I won't get rich by becoming a Christian. I know that my trials and times of trouble may last a long time. But, I know that, no matter how much I've fallen short of the Glory of God, I am always welcome to sit at the feet of my LORD and rest in His presence.

He loves me all the time. I never want to forget that.

Thank you, Father.

No comments:

Post a Comment