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For I Know the Plans

Photo by Maria Gulyaeva on Pexels.com Article from the thoughts of: Robin Gonzales

As we continue our study of Jeremiah, we come to chapter 29-that most famous verse which catches most people’s attention: Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC) For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

It is a verse we have heard often and maybe even relied upon. But what was the context in which it was written? Think about what was actually happening when God makes this statement. The Israelites had been captured by the Babylonians and sent into exile for 70 years. Ouch! However, these Israelites escaped death under God’s wrath and were possibly still receptive to the Lord.

In their exile period they needed God assurances that He had not forgotten them, abandoned them, given up on them, and there was still hope for a better outcome than under the Babylonian’s reign.

Can you relate? Think about low periods of your life regardless of the reason. Life captured and imprisoned by circumstances and strife. You crave just a glimmer of better days ahead.

Isn’t it nice to be assured God provides great hope? Yes, His name is Jesus-the Savior who is the final outcome and our true intercessor. He gives us a brighter outlook despite the difficulties we may experience. 

But let me take you beyond this verse to the primary purpose of this article. You see, for me, this was not the verse seizing my attention. It was Jeremiah’s instructions in verse 7. Let’s take a look: 

Jeremiah 29:7 (AMPC)

And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have welfare.

Jeremiah had just finished telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 7 decades so they needed to go forward, build houses, marry, and raise families. In other words, you are not going anywhere anytime soon–so settle in. He continues telling them to help their city to be at peace and prosperous so that they too would be peaceful and prosperous.

What did that mean for them? Live and work as if it was for the Lord. Submit to the authority God had place over them. In doing these things, all would be well. Yes, even humbling themselves under the Babylonian reign. Jeremiah might have even reminded the captives to display Godly behavior such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, etc. towards the Babylonians!  

Let’s take this a step farther. What does this mean for our daily living? Well, if we think about it-we have all been placed in a city by God himself. You are where you are for a reason. The same can be said about your country, place of employment, school, church, etc. The Father places us in specific areas and wants us to carry out our lives with the same principle He instructed the Israelites thousands of years ago.

We find these same sentiments in the New Testament as a reminder to live in peace, govern ourselves with humility, and work as if it were for the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (AMPC)

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:23 (AMPC)

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.

Romans 13:1 (AMPC)

Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction}, and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (AMPC)

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior.

Let’s reflect:

How often do we pray for our elected leaders to have wisdom, good counsel, good health, strength, rest, peace, protection, help? I know I am lacking in this area. What about you?

I may remember the president or governor or law enforcement or first responders occasionally, but I don’t often think about state representatives, mayors, school board officials, etc. Our entire governing body needs prayer no matter our country, city, workplace, …

I urge you, including myself, as we approach this election in a few days to pray for the candidates, winning or losing, and take a different perspective toward those who are elected-weather or not we chose them. Also, continue to pray for all the leaders in our country all the way down to bosses, pastors, teachers, and parents.

Let’s remember each one of us is responsible for peace and prosperity where we have been placed. (Side note: most of us are responsible for someone else) So with Jeremiah 29:7 in mind, I think we all could use as much prayer and intercession we can get.

Only God can truly say, “For I Know the Plans!” But, it doesn’t let us off the hook to do our part.

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