He was emphatic… “I don’t want to hear it!” Someone had just delivered some “tough love news” (a judge and jury) – It wasn’t going to end up like he had hoped! There were consequences to some bad decisions and actions! His mistakes had driven him to his knees in prayer and repentance! That was good… But there were consequences! Unfortunately, someone who claimed to be speaking for God had led him to believe a miracle would occur and there would be a speedy trial, a light sentence, and he would be quickly released. But it wasn’t going to work out that way! Fortunately, a godly chaplain and pastor, were on hand to affirm God’s love, God’s ultimate purposes, and God’s faithfulness, in the face of a huge disappointment!
It’s a story very much like one of the most misinterpreted and misapplied verses in the Bible – Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse often misinterpreted and misapplied (ignoring its context)… Jeremiah 29:6-14 helps provide the context…
Here is Jeremiah 29:11 (the verse often taken out of context)! The prophet Jeremiah’s reassuring message from the Lord: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope!”
Here is the context: “Jeremiah 29:8–14 (ESV)
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in My name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.’”
Here’s the truth of the passage, as difficult as it is to accept…
Sometimes we have to accept things that we don’t want to accept! Sometimes is our own fault we have to accept those things (in this case it was the consequences of persistent rebellion and sin on the part of Judah). Sometimes what we have to accept runs counter to what everyone else is trying to tell us (and they may be telling us deliverance from the consequences of our actions will come quickly).
But, the fact is, God is in it all and His purposes are good and faithful – God is at work through it all for our good. What we may be going through right now is not the end of the matter! It is because of the Lord we have a future and a hope – His plans for our lives include our ultimate welfare! Praise the Lord!