Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
One of my favorite verses!
This letter written to the exiles was to prepare them for a long captivity in Babylon and to encourage them while there. The prophet, Jeremiah, was given these words from God to tell them to make a life there, plant gardens, and to take wives, have children and multiply. He also tells them to seek peace in their captivity and to pray that they not be deceived.
When we get to verse 11, the Lord reminds them of His promises and love for them. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
BUT what I want to get to are the next three verses. Read them with me, 12″Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:11 is a ‘famous’ verse that we can be reminded of God’s love for us. He says, ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you…” Thoughts. Plural.
He thinks about you, me, our spouse, our child(ren), our enemies. He thinks about every one of us, all the time. We are not forgotten about or loved less than any other person. God is a big, almighty and omniscient God. He wants us to be in peace and not evil. He gives us a future and a hope. He has given all these things to us because He loves us so much. Then why do we still suffer? Why were they exiled from Jeruselum? We all battle with the “But why?” questions. We are human and we will always struggle to understand the mysteries.
What we do know is that we are sinners and when sin came into the world, we were given a choice to follow Christ or be of the world and based on that decision, we have hope of eternal life or being condemned to hell. What we see in Scripture is that God makes certain His Word will be fulfilled. God is a good God and wants all things to be good. Throughout the entire Bible we see this and specifically with the passage mentioned above. (The restoration of Judah and Israel is in Zechariah 10.)
We can’t stop at verse 11 though. No, He says more. He says “Then you will call upon me, pray to me and I will hear you. and you will seek me and find me WHEN you seek me with all your heart.” Wait, so lets put the brakes on here a minute. What is this saying?
When we call upon the Lord, we are going to Him in prayer, asking for daily salvation, praying to Him daily and He will hear us. He heard their prayers and provided them with all their needs in a pagan city, a place with different beliefs. hmm. He then says “You will seek Me and find Me … when … you search for Me with all your heart.” My Bible’s notes say “search” along with the phrase “with all your heart” suggests an earnestness that borders on desperation. The Hebrew word “search” suggests following after, or close pursuit of a desired objective, or diligence.
We can’t walk around confidently parading that the Lord’s got my back and I know He has plans for a future for me or keep leaning on the slogan, “Let go and Let God.” IF we are not diligently seeking after Him. It says it right there in Jeremiah following that very comforting verse we love.
It says it in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
Truthfully, it seemed easier to proclaim Jeremiah 29:11 before I read on. Did I just admit that? But our relationship with God is not a one way street. We should desire to get to know Him and learn how to serve Him then we can confidently rest in His promises. Then is when everything will actually be easier. What I mean is I only thought it was easier to proclaim the verse but really, it is much easier to know it actually applies to me since I am doing the work He desires for me to do. I am pleasing to Him and His promises give me hope of a future. Not of a peaceful world, but of a home with Him in eternity. That will be the reward. That is a hope I can rest easy in.
Can you say the same? Have you ever read on or studied what God wants from you? What are your thoughts?