“I Know the Plans I Have for You” – Part 2
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV)
God’s people were overtaken by the Babylonians when God’s judgment came upon them because of their disobedience. Although a remnant was left in Judah, many were scattered throughout the Babylonian Empire. And it was to these people in exile that the Lord made his great promise through the prophet Jeremiah: “‘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.’”
What a difficult thing it must have been for the people, who were undoubtedly discouraged and disheartened because of their circumstances, to believe this promise from God; but the Lord wanted them to put their trust in his love and his faithfulness to them in spite of what they had done. And the Lord has the same promise for you today. Whatever you have done or haven’t done, know that he still has a plan for your life.
Sometimes God reveals the plan, or part of the plan; or he gives us a verse. But just repeating the verse as a slogan or a mantra—“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” —doesn’t mean that it will automatically come to pass.
It isn’t even a question of just saying “Yes,” and embracing the plan that God has for our lives. We also have to pray the plan. You see, after giving the Israelites the promise that he would prosper them and give them hope and a future, God said, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (emphasis added).
God loves his people so much, that he wants to make us his partners. First, if we have sinned, he tells us that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Then what he wants is for us to get a hold of his promises and pray them back to him!
We can’t be lackadaisical—never praying, never resisting the devil, never reading God’s Word to see what his promises are for us— and then wonder why we aren’t seeing the unfolding of his purpose for our lives. God is saying to his people, “Get a hold of my Word; pray what I showed you—say to me, “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope” (Psalm 119:49); and then thank me and praise me, even as you wait for my plan to be fulfilled in your life.”
I am sure that some of the exiles thought they had to wait until the seventy years of captivity were up before praising God for the fulfillment of his plan for them. But they had to learn, just as we do, that praise is made even sweeter when it is offered up in the midst of difficult circumstances. God wants us to praise him for the purpose he is going to work out in our lives. Can we do that today?
To be continued…
Read Jeremiah 29:8-14.