You might be familiar with the verse I've chosen for this month. It is one that many consider to be their "Life Verse" because God has directly used it in their lives to confirm His leading and promise. It's a good one.
But what you may not know is the context in which this scripture was written. You see, at the time, God's people had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians and were discouraged, to say the least. They'd been removed from their homes and land, their property and crops, and taken to a land with a different language, religion and government system. Everything they had known had been stripped away from them and they desperately wanted to return to the way things were.
Apparently there were many "prophets" who were telling the people just what they wanted to hear: that they would soon be released from captivity and returned to their homeland. But Jeremiah had heard a completely different word from God for them: that they would be in captivity for a good, long time...70 years to be exact.
Stuck for 70 years! In a pagan land, as slaves and foreigners! It couldn't get much worse.
But God didn't stop there.
He told the people to do something extraordinary, considering their circumstances!
He told them (are you ready for this?) to go on with their lives: to marry, have children, plant gardens, buy houses, do business and even pray for the peace of Babylon. God didn't want them to waste away while they waited for their salvation. He wanted them to thrive in spite of their captivity. And if they would trust in the Living God, He would bring them back to their promised land at just the right time.
That's when He says those amazing words to His people:
I've got plans for you! Great plans for your prosperity! I will take care of you because there is so much more to come! Babylon is not the end of the line for you.
I wonder how many of us feel like we've been captured and taken off to Babylon? Simply looking at our current economic disaster can make us think that everything we've known and taken for granted has suddenly been stripped away. We are looking for some answers to help us understand this mess in our culture and government. It seems so hopeless.
It's tempting to just stop living when we see such turmoil around us. And yet.... babies are born, diapers need changing, dinner needs to be cooked and children need raising. There are birthday parties to attend and work to be done. There can still be laughter and joy because we know that God has a plan that includes His merciful bounty of goodness toward us. Even when times are tough.
Our part is to keep on living and loving and trusting. God says we will find Him if we seek after Him.
God's part is to make His plans work for our good and his glory. We can put our hope in Him because He holds our future.
Today's Small Thing is to print off our verse Download Jer.29.11 and put it where you can see it. You can save it to your desktop and use it as wallpaper or a photo, if that works better for you. Let it remind you that your "Babylon" is not the end of the line for you. There is freedom, hope and a future in store for you.
POINTS: 40 for printing off or posting Jeremiah 29:11