Wednesday, June 13, 2012
” ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11).
IDEA: We have a tendency to ask “What does this mean for me?” before we ask, “What did this mean for the original readers”?
PURPOSE: To help listeners apply the Scriptures accurately in their lives.
A man was introduced to an audience as a brilliant business man. The speaker said, “He made a great fortune in mining copper and has been a great leader in his field.” When the speaker got up, he said that he appreciated that introduction. There were just one or two inaccuracies. One was that “it was not in copper, it was in coal. It was not me, it was my brother, and he didn’t make a fortune. He lost a fortune.”
Sometimes we resemble that introduction in the way we read the Bible. We don’t realize what the biblical passage is promising.
We don’t realize that the promise was made, not to us but to someone else, and the promise was not a promise. It was really a punishment.
I. Jeremiah 29:11 is a text that says ” ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ “
How does this passage usually get applied? What does it sound as if it’s saying to us?
Does it make any difference to see who the original readers were?
They were people who had been carried away captive because of their faithlessness and idolatry.
They were told to settle down in Babylon because they were going to be there a long time.
In the face of the 70 years there, there would be prophets who prophesied a quick fix. They are false prophets.
II. What then is this passage saying to the original readers?
God had plans for them.
God will not leave them in that place of punishment. There is hope for the nation Israel.
In the future God would bring the people back to the land, but it would be 70 years later.
God predicted that after the 70 years that people would pray to Him and He would deliver them and bring them back to their land.
III. What do you think this passage says to readers today?
God will punish His people when they persist in following other gods.
God does not give up on His people because He has made a covenant with them.
Therefore the future of God’s people will be one of hope.