THERE IS HOPE!
"'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 upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you'" (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV).
I have read this Bible passage times without numbers. I have heard people quoting it. I have even used it to preach to or encourage other people several times. However, when I studied it in its context recently, I have a clearer understanding of its real meaning.
The context of the passage is a letter written by prophet Jeremiah to the exiled Jews in Babylon. Although, the people of Judah had sinned against God, and God was punishing them by sending them to exile, yet, Jeremiah was advising them to have courage and settle down in that foreign land because God had not abandoned them totally. He presented God as the Yoruba proverbial father that would punish his child with right hand and draw him in love back to himself with the left hand. No matter the consequence of one's sin, God is still compassionate and forgiving (Daniel 9:9). He has plans of restoring us back to Him. He will not abandon His own forever!
The Bible passage is a word of hope for people that are suffering because of their misdeeds. It is a word of hope for others also that think that God has forgotten them. It is a word of hope for every child of God. God has plans for us - plans not to harm us, but to prosper us. Plans to give us hope. Plans to give us a good future. Plans not to abandon us even when we go astray. Plans to listen to us when we call on Him.
"This is what the LORD says: 'I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them. Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD. "'So you will be my people, and I will be your God'" (Jeremiah 30:18-22 NIV. See also 19:14; 31:27-28; 32:42-44; 33:6-26; Lamentations 3:31-33).
No matter the situation, there is indeed hope!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
This message was first sent out on November 21, 2004.