‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘ Jeremiah 29:11
I believe this is one of the more misused, misquoted and misunderstood verses in scripture. You’ve heard it said to you or someone you know, who’s fallen on hard times. Perhaps you’ve quoted it yourself, wanting to bring peace and hope to the recipient. Hope that, “if you just believe on Him, this will be over quickly. If you just have enough faith, everything will be restored. Jeremiah 29:11 says so. God wants nothing but good for you. He wants you wealthy, healthy and prosperous”.
When one one quotes this passage in this way, with this purpose, I would estimate that their intentions are good. Their desire is to lift someone up, give them hope that this is only temporary. “Hold fast and God will make it all right again.” So what then? When the healing doesn’t come in a week, a month, a year, ten years, what then? Devastation, that’s what. “I must not be faithful enough or what if I was wrong to believe in God in the first place. How can I believe anything in scripture if this didn’t play out like is promised in Jeremiah 29:11?” The problem with referencing this verse in that way, with these intentions is that it lacks context and simply is not true. If you read this contextually you’ll see what God tells the people in exile is, ‘get comfortable, build homes, cultivate, marry, pray for your captor’s nation. You’re going to be here for 70 years’. No where in this passage does God promise to quickly and in short order relieve their suffering. Instead He’s directing them to be patient. Have hope, yes, but not a false hope. Do not believe the false prophets who are telling you fairytales, that this will all be over in less than two years.
Prosperity preaching is alive and well in the American church. And why shouldn’t it be. That’s the message people want to hear and believe. America of 2021 is not the first for prosperity preaching. The exiles were buying into that same message in Jeremiah’s day. But, God comes back and says that’s false. Do not buy into it. He does want the best for us, but that may not always be what, where or how we think it should be. He does not promise to remove them from suffering simply because they ask. The same goes for you and I. There’s purpose in it. There’s lessons in it. What He does promise them and us is that this suffering, wherever, whatever it is, is not where you will stay. It will not be the end of the story. His promise is to carry us through the suffering to the other side and on to glory. However, what He requires of us is patient trust. Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy