August 7, 2014
Thinking About Tomorrow
Jer. 29:11 says "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."
I love this verse! I recite it often, and I know that some Christians take offense when I do. They believe that it is not correct (right) to take a verse and use it out of context in this way. This verse, in particular, is referencing a very specific event.
Overview - Jeremiah 29
1 Jeremiah sends a letter to the captives in Babylon to be quiet there,
8 and not to believe the dreams of their prophets;
10 and that they shall return with grace after seventy years.
15 He foretells the destruction of the rest for their disobedience.
20 He shows the fearful end of Ahab and Zedekiah, two lying prophets.
24 Shemaiah writes a letter against Jeremiah.
30 Jeremiah foretells his doom.
Some Christians will say that this verse belongs in this context only. God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah and these words were to encourage the Jews living in exile in Babylonian and to remind them that God had not forgotten about them nor had He become lax in fulfilling His promise of deliverance. Of course, this is true: this is the historical account of what happened to the Jews once they were carried into Babylon (the Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra and Esther record various accounts of this same period in Israel's history). I love the Old Testament. I love reading church history. I guess it is because I love history, in general. While I love the historicity of the Bible, and I love the story (the narrative) it contains; I also see the inspiration of the Word, the powerful testimony, and the LIFE it contains. To me, the Bible is more than just a book of history, it is the very Word of God, and it is written in context just as suredly as it is written for our (all generations) edification (building up). So since I believe that all Scripture is profitable, all Scripture is useful for our learning, our understanding, our encouragement, I recite (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as testimony:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
In such a way, then, I believe that while the words in Jer. 29:11 were specific for the Jews in exile, modern Christians today can take encouragement that God's promise also is true for them. God uses His written Word to help us understand His nature and His character. We learn to trust the Lord, to rely upon Him, and to consider His Word as worthy (as true) when we study the Scriptures in their proper context. The Holy Spirit of God comes along side of us and helps us to see that while the Word was given in a particular time, for a specific event -- the Word itself contains LIFE, HOPE, and POWER.
Heb. 4:12 - For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
As I think about my life today, and I consider the plans the Lord has for me tomorrow, one thing is certain: I believe with my entire heart that those plans are GOOD. I may not know the specifics of His will nor the exact plans He has in mind for me, but my firm conviction is that they are for my GOOD, and that they are designed to give me a future filled with HOPE.