Daily D – Jeremiah 29:11-13
“For I know the plans I have for you” —this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
JEREMIAH 29:11-13 (CSB)
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most loved verses in the Bible, and for good reason. It tells us that God has a plan for our lives. Actually, God told a specific group of people in a specific time and place that he had a plan for their lives. That plan was contradictory to everything they had been led to believe. This word from God was not so much comforting at first as it was confrontational.
Many of the people who were then living in forced exile far from their homeland had believed that nothing and no one could root them out of the land that God had given them based on his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God had brought his people out of Egyptian slavery into that land flowing with milk and honey. It was theirs forever.
Now they huddled in their tents in their makeshift community in a land where they did not understand the language and where all the customs were contrary to everything they had known.
Either God had failed or they had. You know how people are. They blame themselves last. God gave them seventy years in exile to figure out that he was not the one who failed.
God also gave them promises. First, he was no territorial God. His power and provision were not limited to the Promised Land. His people could know and experience him even in an alien culture. They could prosper and bless their new home because of the goodness of God in a place where they started at the bottom rung of community life.
Second, to see God’s good plan come to pass, they needed to settle in for the long haul. They were to build houses and go about the details of ordinary community life. They were also to seek God in prayer. The promise of a future and a hope was related to how they learned to pray. There are some benefits and blessings that come into our lives only as a result of earnest prayer.
God tells them how to pray. He told them to call on him. They were in a foreign land with foreign gods, but they were to call on God and God alone. The reason they were in that foreign land was because they called on foreign gods in the land God had given them. That faithlessness in God and that rebellion against him is what led them into forced exile.
God tells them to “come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” People in forced exile, afraid for their lives, worried about the basics of survival, tend to pray more earnestly and with greater focus. Our Father in heaven assured them immediately that he would hear, he would answer, and he would bless them with all they needed.
“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” Seek God alone in prayer. Search for God’s will and God’s ways with all your heart. Leave no openings for other alternatives. Seek God alone. Know God as he wants to be known. Experience God’s goodness that he longs to lavish upon you.
It is good to commit 29:11 to memory. Add verses 12 and 13 to it. Remember that God’s good plans call for our faith, trust, and prayerful dependence on God our Father who loves us with an everlasting love, a love too pure and perfect to allow us to be distracted or destroyed by any lesser thing.
Do you want to know God’s plans for your life? Seek first to know God.
I will seek to know and experience God before I seek to know his plan.
Our Father, thank you for your plans and purposes for my life. I want to distinguish them from all other options by knowing your nature, character, and purpose. I want to understand your thoughts. I want to feel the beat of your heart. To know you is to know your plans. To know you is to have a future and a hope. There is no future, there is no hope, without you. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”