“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God called Jeremiah to warn the kingdom of Judah, of it’s impending destruction. When he began preaching, Judah was relatively prosperous, free and secure. However things changed under the heavy hand of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Judah suffered greatly for twenty years before the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and they were exiled into Babylon.
Throughout these events Jeremiah warned of God’s judgment and destruction while God passionately urged His people to return to Him and receive salvation. Our verse today is one of comfort found in Jeremiah’s letter to those carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. God speaks through Jeremiah and in his letter God’s words are relayed in v 4, ” This is what the Lord Almighty says to all those “He” carried into exile.” Notice that ‘He’. Even though the situation looked bleak, God admits to being responsible for where they find themselves. It was He that carried them there and even though they didn’t see it at the time. It was His doing they were there. Sometimes it’s so difficult to understand His plan isn’t it? Yet He had a plan for His people and their future and this event was a stepping stone; a means to an end for their salvation and prosperity. He was the direct cause and I’m sure they didn’t feel good or sense God had a plan in their misery; separated and abandoned thousands of miles from their homeland. Yet God still gave His divine instruction, “Build homes and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it for it’s welfare will determine your welfare.”
Wow!! God’s commands were to build, marry, plant, and eat even though their circumstances seemed hostile! In other words, get over it, accept reality, settle down you’ll be here for a while, so bloom where you’re planted.
In verse 11 God speaks comfort into their gloom and despair. He has plans for their good and offers hope for their future in spite of visible circumstances. Their responsibility is obedience to Him. This promise was specific to the exiles in Babylon, but God’s words still speak clear to us today and His promise has brought hope to millions of God’s people in difficult circumstances. Sometimes we may find He’s led us out of our homeland or can we say, comfort zone? It may not seem fair but in these times, our obedience to Him is crucial, if we are to benefit and prosper with His blessing. Let’s be challenged today in our places of discomfort and in our exiles, to put our feelings aside to hear His Truth, receive His counsel and follow Him in obedience!