Joining the exiles in despair?

wordswag_1510747705582Are you disappointed? Perhaps you are frustrated or confused? Woke up to find yourself in a situation you do not like, that you cannot change?  So did some people in ancient Babylon! The Assyrians arrived to besiege Jerusalem. When the city fell, thousands were marched over hundreds of miles and resettled to become servants of Nebuchadnezzar. There were men who claimed divine inspiration telling those exiles not to put down roots. Others were advising them to resist the empire’s orders. Some were just in despair pronouncing woe and the ‘end of the world.’

Jeremiah, who remained in the ruined city of Jerusalem, heard from the Lord and sent a letter to the Jews in Babylon. One of lines in that letter captivates us still and it is a wonderfully encouraging truth. Most likely you are familiar with it – “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) It is a much misunderstood passage that some use like a magic chant, falsely assuring themselves that everything will work out in just the way they desire.  The context is important to give us a true understanding that will sustain us in tough time.

He widened the lens of their understanding with a reminder that God’s plans and purposes reached far beyond what they wanted.  First he told them that God wanted them to settle down and make a life right where they were.  “Build houses and make yourselves at home. “Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. “Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.” (Jeremiah 29:5-6, The Message)

It was not what most of them wanted to hear.  Their hope was a quick return to Jerusalem to reclaim their old way of life.  He went on to assure them that their children’s children would be restored to their land, but only after 70 years of time.  It was a hard word that meant those reading them for the first time would die far from home!

  • Jeremiah then repeats what he had heard from the Spirit.
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

Your Father in Heaven has plans for you! His plans may be much different from our dreams.  He does not promise to give us everything we desire in this moment. He does that His purposes will ultimately prevail if we walk humbly and obediently with Him. The sins of others may cause us to experience difficulties or sorrows or even disaster in the short term. He invites us to take the longer view, to catch sight of the promise of our eternal home, and to be about the business of building His kingdom, where we are, in the situations in which we find ourselves.

I do not believe that everything that happens to me, in this moment, is the perfect will of God. He has given humanity the gift of choice and many use their will to resist Him, to rebel against Him, to act selfishly. I have done that and so have you. Remember that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”

Yet, I am assured by a truth that God ultimately reigns over all, that He will accomplish His purposes, and best of all – that He has secured my eternal salvation with a covenant that was written in Heaven, by Christ at the cost of His life on the Cross. His Resurrection is the guarantee that I will make my home with Him for eternity!

Are you ‘in exile’ this morning? Are you feeling frustrated, confused, hopeless? “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

Here is a word from the Word. Write it on your heart and go on, steady in hope of His purposes that will prevail over the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
(Romans 8:35-38, NLT)


I Surrender All   (worship with this link)

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly Thine
Let me feel the Holy Spirit
Truly know that Thou art mine

All to Jesus I surrender
Lord I give myself to Thee
Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessing fall on me

Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter | Winfield Scott Weeden
© Words: Public Domain

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