A Message of Hope ~ Part I
God has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life. We love this promise and widely use the supporting verse during graduation season. And while this is true, we often don’t realize this promise and verse was actually given to a people facing the just wrath of God. A people who had sinned greatly against the God of their fathers, had ignited His anger, and forsaken the Lord. So God brought disaster and punishment upon them and allowed them to be taken captive and exiled in the land of Babylon.
It was in the midst of this season that God reminded them of His goodness and perfect plans; it was during this period of punishment and loss of home and family that God sent this message of hope. So as we wrap up this mini-series in the book of Jeremiah, let’s take a look at the context, background, and intent of this powerful verse.
Jeremiah 29 is actually a letter to the Israelite exiles in Babylon. Penned by Jeremiah under the direction of the LORD, it was a message of direction, reprimand, and hope.
It began with the Lord’s command to make themselves at home amongst the foreign people and land. They were to build homes, take wives, plan marriages, and pray for this land and cities’ welfare, for it was going to be a long stay. However, before the recipients could get discouraged, God included the passage we are most familiar with.
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
While this letter was originally written to the Israelites in exile, it is God’s Word to His beloved people, and therefore, also has application for us.
So what does this letter teach us? What deeper and greater meaning is there to this passage than typically seen for graduations? In what ways does this passage apply to us—to you, to me?
Why don’t you stew on that for a bit, and I’ll come back with my answers to these questions in a couple of days.
So until then…
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