Jeremiah 29 … Consider His Good Plans for His People

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (29:11).

It just happened as I opened my Bible this morning; an unsolicited sigh of relief as it hit me, I’m in Jeremiah 29! While I wasn’t completely certain of all I would come across in this chapter, I knew one thing was sure. Today I would be reminded of His Good Plans for His People. And boy was I ready to spend some time considering that.

These words from the Lord came to those who found themselves in exile, in a place of bondage. If we think we need to hear His Good Plans for His People, can you imagine how desperate the exiles were?

And God sends His Word through His prophet, and three times He repeated something they obviously needed to remember: He was the One Who had sent them into exile.

  • “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,” (29:4).
  • “…the city where I have sent you into exile,” (29:7).
  • “You, therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon,” (29:20).

They needed to be reminded that their rebellion and sin had brought them to such a place as this, and would thus be reminded of His righteousness. They needed to be reminded that His promise of hope came to those so undeserving and thus remember His amazing grace. They needed to be reminded that when life is dark, and hopelessness threatens to choke out the light of faith, He is sovereign. And they needed to be reminded that because He alone had sent them, He alone would determine the time of their deliverance.

And in this place of desperation, in this place of waiting for deliverance, the false prophets were there, still speaking their delusions, ever endeavoring to fill the people’s heads with lies, proclaiming captivity would soon be over. And as a result, many had relegated themselves to a do-nothing waiting.

 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ (29:4-7).

The prevailing attitude had become that of passivity, no need to be productive here, our deliverance is just around the corner. And again the strong word of caution is delivered: do not listen, do not be deceived, look to God alone and His Good Plans for the Future.

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream.For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place,” (29:8-10).

Consider His Good Plans for His People

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile,” (29:11-14).

In the preceding four verses, God clearly describes His Good Plans for His People. And if they will listen and believe Him, they would find themselves the blessed recipients of His Good Plans.

Plan: “4284. מַחֲשָׁבָה maḥašāḇāh,  מַחֲשֶׁבֶת maḥašeḇeṯ: A feminine noun meaning a thought, a purpose, a device, an intention. Largely poetic in its use, this Hebrew word means thought or the inventions that spring from such thoughts…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

I love that the poetic use of this word infers “inventions that spring from such thoughts.”

None can invent like Almighty Creator God, for none even come close to having the thoughts He has. And when He has an inventive thought, He fully intends to carry it out. But in the midst of their exile, who could have possibly imagined His Good Plans for His People, the thoughts He was having, the course of action He was contemplating?

His Good Plans are rooted in thoughts that are so unlike ours, rooted in His abundant compassion and undeserved forgiveness; and His Good Plans are in the making for all who desire to forsake their sin and turn to seek Him.

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts
, (Isaiah 55:6-9).

And all who turn away from the way of unrighteousness will find themselves in what He had intended all along in His Good Plans for His People, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

  • His Good Plans for His People: well-being and escape from destruction
    • “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity…” (29:11).
      • But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:22-23).
  • His Good Plans for His People: assurance for the days to come and hope for all of eternity
    • “…to give you a future and a hope, (29:11).
      •  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory, (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  • His Good Plans for His People: pray and be heard
    • “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you,” (29:12).
      • This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him, (1 John 5:14-15).
  • His Good Plans for His People: faith to seek and find Him
    • “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…(29:13-14).
      • “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” (Matthew 7:7-8).
  • His Good Plans for His People: restoration and reconciliation
    • “…and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile,” (29:14).
      • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Romans 5:8-11).

How do we respond to His Good Plans for His People?

God revealed His Good Plans for His People in their darkest hour. Circumstances will never cancel His Good Plans, but they can certainly cloud our perception and cast doubt on His Goodness. As in the days of the exiles, we must also remember, the ones who seem to hold all the cards are really not the ones who have control. It always was, always is, and always will be God. And no one can thwart His Good Plans for His People.

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation,
(Psalm 33:11).

We hear a lot of talk these days about the unprecedented times in which we live. Talk that often ushers in fear and anxiety of what lies ahead. We must not spend our time listening to the voice of those who do not speak for God. He revealed His Good Plans to us to build our faith so that we would build our lives on His Good Plans.

When life is dark, and hopelessness threatens to choke out the light of faith, let us turn to Him in prayer, and by faith thank Him for His Good Plans for His People, that we would be guarded by His peace in Christ Jesus.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:6-7).

When the waiting seems intolerable, let us find our joy in His Good Plans for His People that we would persevere as we trust His perfect time and provision for our deliverance,

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4).

Jesus is coming again to gather us to Himself for all of eternity. While we wait, let us heed His command, that we would depend on Him to increase our faith that we would be productive in seeking the welfare of our nation through prayer.

“…and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare,” (29:4-7).

May we never stop praying. For He has told us this is one of the essentials of His Good Plans for His People.

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you,” (29:12).

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,  (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Engaging in divisive quarrels rather than praying in faith will never bring His assurance or hope for the future, and it certainly will not encourage any to seek Him with all their heart. Oh, that we would live with His desire for people everywhere to come to know His Truth and be saved, and live as those who truly believe His Good Plans for His People, making the most of the time He has given us as we commit to be peacemakers for the benefit of all the citizens of our own great country.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men, (Romans 12:17-18).

Whatever is going on in this world, let us never get over the fact that God did not spare His own Son so that we would have life. How can we ever doubt Him? He is for us and nothing this world throws at us can possibly derail His Good Plans for His People. Let us daily turn to listen to His Word that we would know His incomparable love for us and that we would live each day convinced that His Good Plans for His People freely give us everything we need for this life and for eternity.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).

Let’s Grow Together!

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