Also, 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. -Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)
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. -Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. -John 16:33 (NIV)
So close, yet so far!
Ever had a taste of great things to come, only to have it removed from you, or you from it? The Israelites know!
Jeremiah 29:11 may well be the most popular, most clung to promise in the bible. And it’s powerful, alright. But it’s even more powerful and rich when taken fully in context.
In the previous chapter, a Hananiah, a false prophet, told an Israel starving for good news that they would be free from their suffering in two years.
There are plenty of prosperity teachers out there who will tell you that God only wants you to have good times and material wealth…especially if you pitch in to their coffers. This is just as erroneous as the well-meaning idea that God only wants you to be happy.
The truth: prosperity is coming after you thrive where you are
Well, Jeremiah came with truth from God, telling Israel that it would be far longer than two years. (Seventy years, in fact!) The people were to also learn to prosper where they were to God’s glory.
Jeremiah 29:11 is indeed about God’s plans to prosper and not to harm, but you will need to persevere and grow to get from here to there. And the works He will perform in and through you on the way there…thank Him for loving you so much that He would continually refine you and not take you to His plans till you’re ready and equipped to handle them!
In this quotation from her blog, Mary DeMuth explains:
The context of Jeremiah 29 is exile. Jeremiah, who rebukes Hananiah and predicts his death, reminds the Israelites that their exile was to continue. Relief would eventually come, but not swiftly. He encouraged them to marry and bury, to plant vineyards, to seek the prosperity of their current place.
What’s your Babylon?
Where we are now, which is where we’re stationed before our next assignment, is where we need to set up camp. We need to make peace and glorify Him in the here and now, and completely entrust Him with our hopes and dreams.
Jeremiah 29:11, in context, is about a God who so loves us that He may not spare us hardship because we need it to improve and grow, in preparation for His amazing plans for us on the other side. While you wait and grow, trust He hears your prayers. I will gladly persevere and grow and thrive through my trials to get to the other side. Will you?
Casting Crown’s “Thrive” is a campfire rallying song for us to not just survive, but thrive!
This was a tough pill to swallow at first, but one that was also freeing from the shackles of self-focused complaining about “Are we there yet?” Instead, I learned that if I truly had faith in God and His promises, I could pray to Him in Jesus’ name, believing and knowing it would be done. Instead of worrying about the future, I could instead focus on bringing Him glory today. Thank you, Lord, for teaching me this!