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.
Yes, Jeremiah 29:11 Is a Promise for You
Jeremiah 29:11 is in your Bible. It’s God’s Word for you and to you. But it’s also a letter from a long time ago written to someone else. God recorded their experience to tell you about himself. He wants you to know him better through their experience.
The recipients of this letter were exiles, Jews displaced from their homeland. The superpower Babylon conquered Israel and took these Jews captive. This was no accident and God sent prophets like Jeremiah to warn the Israelites what would happen if they continued to rebel against God and break the covenant they made with him.
God sent hardship into these people’s lives as discipline for their rebellion against him. But, he wanted them to know that his discipline was not definitive of his thoughts towards them. He had plans to restore them to their land. But more importantly, he had plans to restore their relationship with him.
The verse that follows Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to 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 will bring you back from captivity’” (v.12-14 NIV).
Do you hear God’s desire for his people? He doesn’t want to harm them. He doesn’t want their hurt. He wants their nearness. He wants them speaking to him and seeking him. Their exile was not a sign of his hatred towards them; it was God’s painful pursuit to win their hearts back to him.
The people receiving this letter were grieving the destruction of both their home and the discipline of God. But like a loving Father, God reminds them that his discipline is not his ultimate judgment. Instead it is his way to open their eyes to see how much they need God, so that they might cry out to him to restore their broken relationship.
We are all estranged from God by our rebellion against him, but his good plan and hope for us is that we might not be eternally separated from him. He knows he has made us for a close relationship with him, though we choose to love other things. So God sent us his Son, Jesus, into our world to bridge this gap. Jesus became human just like us. He suffered as our representative, bearing all our sin when he died on a cross, and was forsaken by God on our behalf.
Since the penalty for sin is death, Jesus broke the power of sin when he rose from the dead. Now we are free to be restored to God. God has a hope and a future of eternity with him awaiting everyone who trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.
God may send hard things into our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t a promise of a perfectly peachy life. It’s a reminder that in the hardest things that happen, God’s kind merciful character hasn’t changed and his hope for us is that we might know him better and draw near to him.
What Does Jeremiah 29:11 Really Mean?
For I know
I have for you,
JEREMIAH 29:11 ESV
Scripture in Context: Jeremiah 29:11
by Audrey Ann Masur, Deeply Rooted Blog
JEREMIAH 3:19-20 NIV
“I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord.
by Gary Hamrick
Sovereign Over Us
JEREMIAH 31:3-6 NIV
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel,
will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels
and go out to dance with the joyful.
Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to You?
by Russel Moore at The Gospel Coalition
For a Glorious Future
by Steven Lawson
Why Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn’t Mean What You Think
by Jodi Hasbrouck at Athletes in Action
God is less interested in my physical wellbeing and much more interested in
strengthening my soul.
But he knows the way
that I take;
when he has
I will come forth as gold.
God’s Thoughts of Peace, and Our Expected End
by Charles Spurgeon, a sermon delivered in 1887
ISAIAH 55:8-9 ESV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him
for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
he hides a smiling face.
Guidance and God’s Plan
by Dr. William Lane Craig at Reasonable Faith
ISAIAH 46:9-10 NIV
Remember the former things, those of long ago;I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’
While God will not do what we propose to him, yet he will do
what he has promised.
The plans of the Lord
stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
PSALM 33:11 NIV
LAMENTATIONS 3:21-23 ESV
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.