God’s plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Let’s consider this popular verse. Some will claim this is written to the Jews in exile and does not apply to us today. But, let’s look at this verse and consider the context and see what we can learn about God and his plans for us.

Let’s consider these people. God had plans for them. Who were they? Where were they? What does this tell us about the character of God? Does God have plans for us? Are God’s plans good, with a future and a hope?

Plans for people who were being punished for disobedience

Please read the full context of A Letter to the Exiles (Jeremiah 29:1-23). This letter was written by Jeremiah from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.

Written after Jehoiachin and the cream of the people had been taken to Babylonia. Jeremiah advises them to be peaceful and obedient captives, and promises that they will return to their homeland after 70 years (v. 10). But even in Babylonia the false prophets kept up their fight against Jeremiah (vv. 21-32). —HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK

Plans for people who had been warned about the future

Please read Seventy Years of Captivity (Jeremiah 25:1-14). This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah.

“Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’ (Jeremiah 25:4-6)

Plans for people who had received prophecy about the future

Please read Good and Bad Figs (Jeremiah 24:1-10). This vision was given to Jeremiah about the events that had transpired when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans. It compared and contrasted 2 groups of people. Which group would you want to be in? What if you didn’t know God’s plan?

“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 24:5-7)

“But the bad figs,” the LORD said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 24:8-10)

What about God’s plans for you?

One of the most amazing descriptions of God is found 1 John 4:16, “God is love.” It is good to consider this because when we are talking about God’s plans we are really talking about God’s character. If God is love, then his plans will be for good and not disaster. If God is love, then his plans will give you a future and a hope. What do you believe about God?

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:16-19)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. (Psalm 40:5)

If God had plans of good, with a future and a hope for people who were being punished for disobedience, imagine what plans he has for you. We are living in the gospel of grace instead of under the requirements of law. The privileges we have under the gospel are greater than under the law of Moses. And, just as God rested on the seventh day, so there is a rest for the people of God. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, from the gospel because of the work which Jesus Christ did for us. Part of this rest is physical rest, which is going to be realized in the future, in heaven. But, part of this rest is spiritual rest right here and now because the only real rest for our souls is in Jesus Christ.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. (Romans 16:25)

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:10)

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Now may the God of peace—
     who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
     and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
may he equip you with all you need
     for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
     through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
     All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

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One Reply to “God’s plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)”

  1. The two verses that have been burning in my mind lately are as follows:
    Psalm 32:8 (NLT) 8 The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

    The first words struck me as I read it. This message is something from the Lord and He is telling it to me personally. Also in other translations it uses the phrase “I will guide you with my eye” which brings to mind the contrast between what I see and what God sees. There’s quite a bit to think on in those words.

    Hosea 6:3 (NLT) 3 Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

    A good friend shared this verse with me at the same time I was in Ph 3, and as I have thought on it I sincerely want that to define my mission in life. If all Christians would make that their central focus and goal…it would answer all questions, solve all differences and disputes, give us the right perspective, humility, motivation, etc. What an amazing thought that we can know God, and He wants to reveal Himself to us, yet we can never exhaust what there is to know about Him.

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