(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Jeremiah 29:11 through 14 was written to the Jews who were taken away from their homeland of Judea in the seventy-year Babylonian captivity! These verses were part of a letter God told Jeremiah to write to them. The letter encompasses 25 verses (Jeremiah 29:4 through 28).
- In this letter, in verses 8 and 9, the LORD reminds those in exile…
✡ ...why they were allowed to be punished by King Nebu- chadnezzar’s army that destroyed Jerusalem and much of Judea! ✡ ...why so many Judeans were killed! ✡ ...why the survivors were taken a thousand miles away to Babylon!
- God also tells them in verse 10, how long the captivity will last, “…seventy years…”!
- In verses 15 through 23, He warns those…
✡ ...who are falsely prophesying among them in Babylon to stop their divinations and prognostications! ✡ ...remaining in Judea and Jerusalem to quit their many sins and false predictions, or they will experience His further wrath!
- But in the verses 5 through 7 of the letter, because they would be in Babylon a long time, God encourages His exiled people:
Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters--that you may be in- creased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
However, like many Old Testament passages (see for instance II Chronicles 7:14 and Isaiah 40:28-31); what was originally directed to the Hebrew people also have great application to Christians today! This is why, to highlight God’s Plan, I have chosen Jeremiah 29:11 through the first part of 14 for the featured Scripture:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a fu- ture and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity....
Let’s consider several points of what the LORD is saying here:
- Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD….”
✞ It says in Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus “...ever lives to make intercession for us.” He’s always praying for us, and if He is praying for us, He is always thinking about us! He has me in mind, and He has you in mind........RIGHT NOW! ✞ How does He do it? There are millions of Christians in the world. But Jesus is God! And, as He said in Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” No! Nothing is too hard for Jesus Christ to accomplish! (see Jeremiah 22:17). ✡ And what kind of thoughts is He thinking toward us?
- Jeremiah 29:11 – “…thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
✡ Yes, God can bring evil on those who reject Him! But He intends to bring peace to those who are truly His! ✡ And what are the end results of those thoughts toward His children? “...to give you a future and a hope.” ➔ What is the future for those who know Jesus as Savior? We could spend a year of Gems exploring what the Bible says about the fu- ture and what it holds for believers! But I especially like what Paul wrote in I Cor- inthians 2:9 (quoting Isaiah 64:4): “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” ➔ We may not be able to fully realize what our future days upon the earth will be like. We may not be able to comprehend eternity with the LORD after we die. But we surely do have a hope for the future!
- Jeremiah 29:12 – “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
✡ This has to do with our days upon the earth. Not only can Jesus pray for all believers at once, He can also listen to all the millions of prayers offered up at the same time! And He listens with complete understanding! ✡ This ought to encourage us to spend more time in prayer, talking to Him, but also quietly listening to what He has to say to us!
- Jeremiah 29:13, 14 – “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD….”
✡ There are listed here two requirements on our part to find the LORD: ➔ We must seek Him! And, as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, we must seek Him, His king- dom, and His righteousness first, before food, drink, and clothing (see Matthew 6:25-32); and especially before mammon (money and the things money can buy – see Matthew 6:19-24; I Timothy 6:9, 10). ➔ We must search for Him with all our heart ...soul, mind, and strength! (Jesus’ state- ment concerning the Great Commandment in Mark 12:30 added). ✡ If we fulfill what we must do to sincerely seek Him, God will then do what only He can do: “I will be found by you, says the LORD....” He wants us to find Him, but not by insincere and half-hearted seeking!
- Jeremiah 29:14 – “…and I will bring you back from your captivity….” Why did I include this part of verse 14? We are not in captivity like the Jews of old!
✞ In a very real sense, yes we are! For Jesus said in John 8:34, “Most assuredly, I say to you, who- ever commits sin is a slave of sin.” ➔ Romans 6:16, 19, 20, 21, 23: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey...you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more unlaw- lessness...you were slaves of sin ....For the end of those things is death. For the wages of sin is death.... ➔ Even Paul cried out to God, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) ✞ What is the answer to Paul’s plea? ➔ Romans 7:25 – “I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ➔ Romans 8:1 and 2: There is therefore now no condem- nation to those who are in Christ Jesus....For the law for the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. ✞ As Jesus said in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Jesus Christ, when we seek Him and find Him,
sets us free from captivity to sin and eternal death!
Thank You, LORD God!