The Plans of God
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
While the false prophets confidently predicted that Judah would be delivered from the Babylonian threat, Jeremiah with equal confidence predicted that Jerusalem would fall to the besieging Babylonian army, and called on them to surrender. But Jeremiah was of course right. The city fell in 597 BC, and the leaders of the nation were taken into Babylonian exile.
Once the people had settled there, Jeremiah wrote a letter to all the exiles, telling them to build houses and live in them, to plant gardens and eat their produce, to develop their family life, and to seek the welfare of the city. They were not to listen to the dreams of the false prophets that they would soon return to Jerusalem; only after seventy years of exile would the Lord bring them back.
The promise that God then made to the Babylonian exiles has often been legitimately reapplied to Christians in distress and pain: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (v. 11).
Firstly, God has plans for his people. Life may appear haphazard. History has been described as being like the tracks made on white paper by the feet of a drunken fly. But no, life is not random, meaningless, or absurd. God had plans for the exiles; he has plans for us as well.
Secondly, God knows his plans. He does not necessarily divulge them, but he has them and knows them. Parents begin to make plans for their children before they are born; so does our heavenly Father.
Thirdly, God’s plans are good plans. The Babylonian exiles must have found this hard to believe, but God was determined to give them “hope and a future.” Perhaps the New Testament equivalent is Romans 8:28 where we are assured that God works all things together for our good.
- Do you think God has a plan for your life?
- Do you really believe His plans are good?
- What is our responsibility in letting God accomplish His plans in us and for us?
Pray for an obedient heart and ask God to work His plan through and in you.