Plans To Prosper?

“‘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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'”

Jeremiah 29:11-13

This verse is a verse that I love. A verse that we cling to, that God is looking out for us. That God will give us success and protect us. But a deeper look into this verse shreds this interpretation apart. And while the initial shredding might make you spin, the new promise from this is even more powerful. Even bigger than what our human minds comprehend.

To properly understand this verse, you have to look back before to get the full picture. Jeremiah tells Israel they’ll be judged and exiled for 70 years (25:11). Obviously, a prediction like this would get people talking.

“Is this guy serious?”
“Who does he think he is?”

As a response, a prophet named Hananiah shows up. He says this Jeremiah character is wrong. Israel will only be judged and exiled for 2 years. Forget this 70 year thing. This false prophet brought the Israelite’s hope. In response, many latched onto this promise, ignoring Jeremiah’s word from God. Of course, God had other plans. Jeremiah was his prophet and God wanted to make sure the people knew. Jeremiah (on a word from God) prophesied that Hananiah would be dead before year end.

Wow, that got real… and he was right:
28:17: in the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.

God proved his superiority in an unbelievable way. I think he wanted to draw the attention back to him and back to the judgement coming. The distractions had to be cast aside and God wanted their attention. What a way to get it…

This brings us up to this speech by Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

“‘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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'”

Jeremiah wanted to make sure they saw the big picture. Despite the 70 hard years in front of this, it’s a declaration that God is there. It’s a declaration that ultimately God and his people prevail. It was a promise given at one of their lowest of lows.

This is a promise we can latch onto no matter our circumstances. It won’t be easy. It couldn’t have been for that nation with 70 years of trouble ahead.

And that’s why it’s an even more beautiful promise. If God promised us each individual victory in life, we wouldn’t need him. But Him promising the ultimate victory is all we can ever want and hope for. God is good!