Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
In this text God's people, the children of Israel was in Babylon captivity due to sin and disobedience to God. For many generations, God's people had been doing their own thing, going their own way, living life to please the flesh and wilfully disobeying God's laws.
Jeremiah, the Prophet along with many other Prophets prior to him had warned God's people to turn away from idolatry and sin and turn back to God, but instead, they continued in their way. Now, what God has prophesied through His prophets of old about their captivity is their current lot.
Away from their homeland, the Temple of God, everything good and familiar no longer was for Israel. The comfort of their homeland Jerusalem was just a memory at this time in their lives.
Now in captivity, the people of God felt abandoned and believed that God was angry with them, therefore they had been forsaken by Him.
Jeremiah speaks to Israel in the midst of pain and suffering and he tells them that they need to settle down and make Babylon their home for now because they would be there for 70 years. They were told to build houses and plant gardens because their stay in Babylon is not a short one.
Even in the midst of captivity, pain and suffering at the doings of self, God sent them a word of hope through the prophet Jeremiah.
Let's listen to vs#10 of this text: This is what the LORD says: "You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
God offers a hopeless people hope of one day visiting them again and then returning them back home. In other words, God is specifically declaring to His people that He has a plan for them to prosper, to give them a hope and a future.
One thing we must understand is the fact that God forgives us of our sins when we confesses them for He is faithful and just to do just what He says.
God forgiving us is not a way of escape from our consequences for sin. Hebrews 12:6- For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."
God's thoughts and plans for His people are of good and NEVER of evil.
Even when God disciplines us, it is for our good. God has a reason for everything He allows in our life. They are reasons we can't see or understand, but we MUST still trust Him in them.
Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
No, consequences for disobedience to God does not feel good but they work for our good. They cause us to not only want to experience the pain of our consequences again, but they also causes us to consider the consequences when we attempt to go back and do the same thing again.
Israel is feeling that God's choice of consequences for them was evil and that his anger was against them. In other words, they are now questioning God's love for them.
Have you ever felt that you were being punished because God was angry at you?
If we could be honest for a moment, we too can answer "yes" to this question. Sometimes we do feel the same way Israel felt when things don't go our way. We too begin to question God by asking Him "Lord, how could you let this happen to me? Lord, I do my best to do what you command of me. Why this experience? What am I doing that is wrong in your sight?
Yes, we too allow the enemy to discourage us to the point of making us believe that God does not love us and does not care about us or what we are going through too.
God loves us in spite of us. It is the enemy of our minds that bring doubts of God's love towards His people, especially when we find ourselves in painful and uncomfortable circumstances in our lives.
God had not rejected Israel and He has not rejected us. He had plans for Israel's restoration back to Him and He has plans to restore those of us who have went astray from Him also.
Israel's Babylonian captivity was a part of God's plan for His people. Yes, it was His judgment for their sin, but His plan did not end with His judgment against them for it because He declared to them in this text He indeed has a plan, hope and future in store for them after captivity.
God still had a plan for His people, plans to bless them, to give them hope and a future.
The promise of God to His people is this: “' For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord .” Plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
As parents, we discipline our children for wrong doings, but it does not make us love them any less. We discipline them because we love them and want to correct their ways. The same with God and us!
God' love for His people is truly amazing! God had plans for His rebellious people. He was thinking about them. And God thinks about us too!
The God of the universe thinks about us. He knows all about us. He has us in His mind. He knows who we are and where we are. He knows our needs, our fears, our hopes, our dreams. His eye is upon us and His love and presence forever surrounds us.
Feeling hopeless, abandoned, depressed, rejected, disappointed by life's circumstances? There is hope on today for God's Word declares that He know the plans He has for you.
Keep in mind that Israel was in a place where they felt defeat, abandoned, rejected, forsaken and unloved. They were in lots of pain. They were far away from their homeland, their place of worship called the Temple where they believed the presence of God resided and because of their pain and suffering, they felt as though they could no longer sing their songs of zion in a foreign land.
Remember, God is everywhere! Our destination does not determine God's presence. God is the Sovereign God and He is everywhere. Indeed, He is a very present help in time of trouble.
God has made this promise to his people concerning His presence with them. He promise to never leave nor forsake us.
People of God, we must rise above the circumstances of life that attempts to cause us to believe that God does not love or care for us because of what we are going through. I don't care what you may be going through, NOTHING is hopeless with God. You and Him are the majority!
In all our ways, we must acknowledge God and He will direct our path. In other words, "SEEK GOD ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE" for He promises to hear and answer us.
People of God, regardless of what level of pain or suffering you may be experiencing at this time. Perhaps it may be to self doing or God allowing it for a reason, there is a plan for your life. God said it! Whose report will you chose to believe, God or man?
We are reminded us of God' promise that He gave to Israel, which is also available to us too in vs#13-14 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Our exile may not be Babylon, but willful sin has caused us to be exiled too. The good news on today is that God is willing to show us mercy and restore us to our rightful place in Him.
Remember, there is a purpose in the pain!
God has a plan for your life too!