Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah is speaking in behalf of God when he says; ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord… What an encouraging verse we hear it and we instantly feel reassured, what a relief to our souls knowing that God wants good things for us. Long before we were conceived by our parents, we were conceived in the mind of God.
And it’s true God wants the absolute best for us but what’s best for us may not be what we had in mind. God’s plans for us often looks very different from the plans that we have.
When God made this statement His people were in exile in a foreign country Babylon. Their lives were in danger and it seemed like all was lost. No doubt many of them must have thought ‘Really God, this is your plan to prosper us?’Just a few verses before God had given a command that seemed irrational and counter intuitive. It seemed to go against what human reasoning would otherwise suggest. He didn’t say go to war with your enemies and I will help you overcome them.
Instead He said 5 build houses, plant gardens, eat the produce of your labours, get married, have children. Then v.7‘seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile… Pray for it because if it prospers you too will prosper.
We can align ourselves with other saints in our towns and cities to pray for our towns and cities that they will prosper.
But God is also telling us in this text, is that even when we don’t see it, can’t understand it , cannot discern it. even when things look bad, God is working His will, plans and purposes in and through our lives.
That’s really what it means to ‘prosper’ His will being done in our lives on earth as it is in heaven. God has not forgotten us. He has not abandoned us.
His plans for us might not be easy but they are good.
The Bible does not teach that if we come to Jesus in trust and faith, we are going to have it easy or a trouble free life. But it does say that God’s plans for us are for our good. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
That difficulty we faced was not easy and God wept that it hurt you so much but it was allowed to shape our hearts. So that we would grow more into His likeness.
What really is important? what is our purpose for being here on this earth? What is our principal purpose?
The man without purpose, is like a ship without a rudder. A waif, a nothing a no man. – Thomas Carlyle
Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purpose for your life. Nothing can compensate for not knowing them. – Rick Warren
It’s that sense of purpose that will shape our priorities in this next year and beyond. It’s our purpose that will inform us about what’s important and what isn’t. It’s our purpose that will decide how we spend our years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds between now and when we breathe our last.
If our purpose is just to get stuff done here and now that we need to get done, make money, put food on the table and enjoy life, that’s a pretty, short-sighted view with no regard for eternity and it’s a recipe for a short-term life, a life that stops dead, when your heart stops.
When Jesus was asked, which of the commandments (all 613 of them in the O.T.) was the most important, this is what He said. Mark 12:29-31
“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Imagine if that were true, if that became our purpose for living, how would it change the things that we give priority to? How would it change what we spend our time on?
What I have found in my life and probably true of yours is that nothing changes in what I say or do until something changes in my heart. Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
There are many people today whose life isn’t going in the right direction. Often we don’t know why, we just know it’s not right. There’s a lack of joy, there’s a lack of fulfilment. Or perhaps there’s the pain of regret. And often we don’t know what the right direction even looks like.
…to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. Because if that truly becomes our purpose in living, then God will set a new life before us. A life that, whilst hard some days, you’ll know is heading in the right direction.
It’s a new year so it’s time for a fresh start. God is the God of new beginnings. God is the God who makes the past irrelevant, who forgives everything, who heals everything to give us a new life to walk in.
He wants us to have a fresh start. That’s not some vague promise. That’s a promise from God that comes direct from His Word Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Too many people start the New Year off wanting some change. They’ll grab onto anything that’s on offer, go with it for a while, realise there’s sacrifice involved and then head back to their old life. Know that God has a plan, He has the power and He has the will to bring His plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. into fruition no matter how daunting the opposition may appear.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
If we believe in Jesus, if we have put all our trust in Jesus, that plan will unfold itself in our life, just as God’s amazing plans unfolded for Israel, after they were set free from slavery.
He was with His people back then, in power and in might and He is with us today, in the same way, with the same power, with the same might and with the same tender-hearted love.
Don’t let the devil plant his weeds around God’s seed trying to convince us to turn back