Will you trust His plan? Do you realize what His plan is like? He can take what the enemy planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good! He can restore what has been broken! He can save the lost! He can set the captives free! Will you trust Him?
You need to deny the liars! You need to avoid allowing pride to make you think you can do it all on your own! You need to humble yourself and put all your hope and trust in God! Look for the truth rather than what will just make you feel better! Test the words and see if they are true! Make sure you don’t stir up so much trouble that it goes from being a wooden yoke to an iron one!
Hear God’s Word! Don’t lose hope! Yes in this world there will be troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Yes in this world you will have trials, but consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for they will test your faith and the perseverance will help you to endure. Allow that endurance to carry you all the way without failing, so that in the end you will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing!
As we continue into Jeremiah 29, we hear the message to the exiles. A message of hope in the midst of their circumstances! A message of salvation in the midst of their trials! A message for the future! In the midst of what you are going thru, flourish! In the midst of what is taking place, multiply! In the midst of what is going on, prosper! In the midst of what is taking place, seek peace! Don’t be deceived by liars and false prophets! Remember God’s timing is perfect and He has a plan! Just like in Jeremiah, God’s timing is perfect and He has a plan for you and me and the rest of this world! He will provide signs of the time so that you will know the time! He will provide direction so that you will know what to do!
Let’s review what was said…
A Letter to the Exiles
1This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2(This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
4This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11For 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. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I 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.”
15You may say, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” 16but this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on Davidʼs throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile— 17yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. 19For they have not listened to my words,” declares the Lord, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the Lord.
20Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes. 22Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’ 23For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighborsʼ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the Lord.
–from Jeremiah 29
So don’t lose hope! Don’t walk away from God! Put all your hope and trust in Him! Invite Jesus into your heart! Align to Him and His ways! Be ambassadors of peace! Walk in His ways! Allow Him to direct your steps! Remember the end of the book, Jesus wins! He won the victory when He conquered the grave! He defeated the power of sin when He paid the penalty on the cross! So don’t lose hope! Put your trust in God! Don’t rebel against Him!
Need wisdom? Humble yourself and cry out to God! Let’s reflect on today’s Psalm…
A prayer of David.
1Hear me, Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips. 2Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. 3Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed. 4Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded. 5My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled. 6I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. 7Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. 8Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings 9from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. 10They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. 11They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. 12They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover. 13Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked. 14By your hand save me from such people, Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life. May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; may their children gorge themselves on it, and may there be leftovers for their little ones. 15As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
–from Psalms 17
We need to trust Him in and through it all! We need not lean on our own understanding, but put our trust in God! There is no darkness in Him! He is light! God is Love! Let’s try to live dead to sin and alive in Jesus! Let’s be slaves to doing what is right in God’s eyes! As we read in the final chapter of today’s reading from the book of Romans…
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or donʼt you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16Donʼt you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
–from Romans 6