“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. ” Jeremiah 29:11
I’m so glad that God knows the plans! I may not have a clue, but God KNOWS! Thank you, Jesus!
This verse is so often quoted. It has become a life verse for many individuals. It is shared on facebook. People have paintings with it written out. It might even be on a magnet on your fridge. It is a verse of great hope. It speaks of the amazing future that lies ahead for each one of us.
But did you know it was not written to an individual? It was written to the Jewish nation in captivity. People led away against their will, filled with uncertainty, loss, and pain. Jeremiah 29:1 tells us that this is written to the surviving elders of the exiles, to the priests, prophets and people taken into exile in Babylon. They never wanted to go to Babylon. They were taken captive and led from their land to a foreign land. They had witnessed so much – some did not survive into captivity. It was not a fairy tale life for sure.
And what did Jeremiah instruct them? “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” (vs.5-6).
Oh, I can you hear the people now: “What God? We are supposed to put down roots HERE? I don’t want to have my family here. I want to be back in Jerusalem. This isn’t how I thought my life would be. I HATE Babylon.”
And it gets worse. “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (vs.7). Not only were they called to live there, they were called to pray for their city, bless it, and seek its welfare. God was asking a lot from the captives!
And the kicker of them all – they were even told that they would be there 70 years. (vs.10). That’s a lifetime for most of them. No hope of ever returning to their homeland. They would die far from home. Their hope for returning was in the next generation.
Many of us today have a love-hate relationship with our city. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t wait to get out of here. First chance I get, I’m gone!” But God has put you right were you are for such a time as this. Look at Acts 17:26. God determines our pre-appointed times and the boundaries of our dwellings. Wow – how different would we view our city if we really believed God was the One that placed us hear.
We are still called to pray for the peace of our city and seek its welfare. God loves cities cause He loves people. People live in cities! He places us in communities. He tells us to multiply. He tells us to build. He puts us in church bodies to help us grow and accomplish His plans in our city.
My friend, it is time to be reset toward our city! God longs to move in our community. Our Christian experience was never meant to stay in the four walls of our church. Jesus wants to leave the building and walk the streets through each one of us. He longs to show His love, His compassion, His grace, His goodness, His salvation to our cities. He wept over His city – He LOVES cities! Are we willing to weep over ours?
It is time to have a bigger vision than just our personal prosperity. The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 was written to an entire people group – not just one individual. This reset is for more than just our personal well-being. It is for our churches. It is for our community. It is for our region. It is to touch nations.
God gives us the formula for knowing His plan and having a future filled with hope. You find it in verses 12-14: “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…..”
Let’s join together and seek the Lord! Seekers will be finders when they seek with all their heart.
Prayer for Today: Lord, I want to seek You. Not just for myself. I want to seek You for my city today. You wept over Your city. Let me see my city as You see it. I seek you for the welfare of my city. Forgive me Lord for cursing and speaking evil against my city and my city officials. Lord, teach me to pray for and bless those in authority. I long for You to move in my city. I long for my city to be reset with the purposes and plans of God. In Jesus Name – Amen.