Pastor's Blog

God gave Jeremiah “the heart of a shepherd” for the nation of Judah. He had faithfully preached the Word of the Lord for years that if they did not repent God would send Babylon to judge them. That word came to pass. Jeremiah could have taken the posture, I told you so! But you wouldn’t listen . . . you got what you deserved! But in chapter 29 Jeremiah writes a letter of encouragement to the Jewish people who have been taken from their homes to Babylon. Jeremiah is concerned that they respond to what God is doing in the right way. He wants them to know that they are where they are by the hand of God . . . and that God has a time table . . . they will be there for 70 years. Jeremiah’s instructions are to make the best of it . . . build yourselves homes - build families – increase your population while there in Babylon. Pray for Babylon – that God blesses so that they too would be prosperous.

Jeremiah was greatly concerned about the fact there were men prophesying that this was a temporary exile – maybe a year or two and they would be back home in Jerusalem. It was kind of like going on a short trip and staying in a hotel . . . no need to really unpack all your bags. Jeremiah wanted them to clearly understand that was a lie. God said it was going to be seventy years, so it would be seventy years. It is in this letter that we read one of the great statements about God and his heart for his people . . . and while it is a direct word to that group of people in Babylon – it is also a word of promise that every child of God can take hold of . . .

Jeremiah 29:11-14

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. [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 seek me with all your heart. [14] I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

The Jews of Jeremiah’s day thought they were in the worst of circumstances. They had lost everything – moved to foreign soil to become servants of another nation of people – far away from their place of worship and their homes. Yet in the midst of those circumstances God said, “I want to do something good in your lives – I really do have a plan for you – there is a purpose for all that you are going through. When all is said and done you will draw closer to me and I will bring you home in victory. . . . I am giving you hope and a future!”

You would think that the people would be encouraged by such a word – and maybe some of them were. However, there was at least one elder of the people who shot a letter back to Jerusalem telling the authorities there to put Jeremiah in stocks and neck-irons for preaching such a message. Shemaiah claimed that Jeremiah was lying – that he was teaching false doctrine. Shemaiah’s rejection of Jeremiah and the Word of the Lord cost him and his family their lives. God wanted to bless them, but their unbelief and rebellion kept them from receiving, or even seeing, the blessing of God come to pass.

To you and me today . . . we live in a very perilous day. Some of the things that we have taken for granted and as the blessing of the Lord for the past two hundred years seem to be in jeopardy today. Our economy is on shaky ground. The world scene is volatile in many places. But God is still at work in his church – wherever it is — He said I will build my church! In my opinion, that means that you and I need to take heed to Jeremiah 29:12- 14 more than ever so that Jeremiah 29:11 will be fulfilled in the circumstances of our lives. The people who enjoy the promise of the hope and a future are the people who learn to seek God with all their heart . . . regardless of circumstances . . . . it is the people who call on the name of the Lord and pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done . . . that is my prayer again today . . . how about you?

Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Fri.     Sept. 30, 2011   Jer. 28-29, Psalm 78:56-72, Proverbs 30-31, Acts 11

Sat.     Oct. 1, 2011    Jer. 30-31, Psalm 79, Prov. 1, James 1-2

Sun.    Oct. 2, 2011    Jer. 32, Psalm 80, Prov. 2, James 3-4

Mon.   Oct. 3, 2011    Jer. 33-34, Psalm 81, Prov. 3, Acts 12

Tues.  Oct. 4, 2011    Jer. 35-36, Psalm 82, Prov. 4, Acts 13-14

Wed.   Oct. 5, 2011    Jer. 37-38, Psalm 83, Prov. 5, Acts 15

Thurs. Oct. 6, 2011    Jer. 39-40, Psalm 84, Prov. 6, Gal. 1-2



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