Jeremiah 29:11 — “I Know the Plans I Have for You”

(I’ve been working several days to hammer last Sunday’s sermon into a concise outline; here it is for your devotional study or teaching/preaching use.  The key text is Jeremiah 29:1-14, especially verse 11.  You can find the whole sermon here.)

Scripture — Jeremiah 29:11:  “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.”

Introduction/ Background (Jeremiah 29:1-3):  Sometimes things are not as we want them to be.  Despite our best efforts, our circumstances aren’t user friendly.  In this passage, Jeremiah was trapped in the city of Jerusalem which was being dissembled by the Babylonians.  False prophets were telling the people, “Don’t give up; there’s still hope.  God will surely send a miracle of deliverance as He has in the past.”  But Jeremiah’s message was, “There’s no last minute miracle on the way.  The judgment of God is falling.”  In chapter 29, he wrote to exiles who had already been deported to Babylon, giving the same message, but in the middle of it we find this remarkable verse of comfort and hope (v. 11).  In looking this chapter, we can learn something about responding to negative surroundings.  When we are not where we want to be, how should we respond?

1.  Make the Best of Things (vv. 4-6):  This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so they too may have sons and daughters.  Increase in number there; do not decrease.”  Jeremiah’s point is:  There isn’t going to be a last-minute miracle or any sudden solutions to the problem.  All you can do for now is make the most of it, do the best you can, rejoice in the Lord, and keep on going. 

2.  Pray Where You Are (v. 7):  Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Ask God to bless your surroundings.   If they prosper, you will prosper.   Jeremiah was telling the people to pray for the “shalom” of the nation where they had been exiled.

3.  Beware the Wrong Voices (vv. 8-9):  Jeremiah warned the exiles not to listen wrong voices.  There has never been so much deviant propaganda directed at so many unthinking people through so many mesmerizing media.

4.  Take the Long View (v. 10):    This verse contains a remarkable prophecy.  The removal of King Jehoiachin occurred in 597 B.C.  The complete collapse and fall of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem happened eleven years later in 586 B.C.  On several specific occasions, Jeremiah predicted that the nation of Judah would be destroyed, its capital city burned, its people deported, and the entire nation would be wiped off the face of the earth, but that within 70 years, Judah would be back.  The nation would be reestablished.  Compare Jeremiah 25:8ff; Daniel 9:1ff; Ezra 1:1ff.  We live in a day in which everyone wants immediate gratification, but Christians are looking forward to God’s long-term faithfulness (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

5.  Get Hopeful about God’s Plans (v. 11):  Remember that these words were spoken to a displaced, defeated, depressed group of exiles.  They had hung their harps on the willow trees and had lost their song.  But with the Lord, things are never hopeless.  For I know the plans I have for you…

6.  Seek the Lord Above All (v. 13-14):  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.  Whatever our circumstances, we can make Him Lord of our lives and seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

9 thoughts on “Jeremiah 29:11 — “I Know the Plans I Have for You”

  1. If i am exiled for disobedience and it has cost me my husband who died of cancer my grandchild who died right before birth my three rebellious daughters who left me in my grief and refuse to return for my arms that ache to hold my children and grandchildren for the tears that soak my pillow every night what you’re saying is God wants me to go on in this situation there are no miracles for me just this suffering and grief then after 20 years of waiting praying walking my floors and hoping in God’s mercy I understand today that if 70 years pass I’ll be dead and won’t know what happened. I’m serving a God who would allow this after he sent his only son to die for me to forgive all my sins and restore my life in his love and grace? Then you are saying that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has no effect and my punishment and exile from the love and wonders of God remains . Why then would I continue to serve God ?

    1. Honey…God bless you, God is a God of love he doesn’t operate like you think, sure we do make mistakes; I truly have but God is a forgiving Father full of love, mercy, and grace. He knows that we are not perfect and we live by his grace. I’m so sorry that you feel you are being punished because of some sin that you did, your sin and mine is the reason why he went to Calvary and died for us. God loves you and forgives us. We are free and forgiven by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Kick the Devil out of your life because he is still a lier and father of lies. Your sister in the Lord.

    2. Perhaps my reply to this could be late but I’ll send it anyway.
      Laura I cannot begin to imagine your pain and anguish. But we serve a God that knows all, sees all and is above all.
      Sometimes we live through serious mistakes and receive His forgiveness and love, but the consequences of our past, we may have to live with, our actions present and future is what will determine or eternity.
      KEEP ON SERVING GOD. The past you cannot take back or change but the future rests on what you choose to do from NOW on. Do not allow the enemy to distract or detract you. Receive the liberty that Christ blood bought for you

      God Bless you richly

    3. Laura – I can only imagine your pain as I read your story. As a pastor I have walked with many through grief and over the years have learned that at times it is best not to even try to “pretend” to share their pain. However, there is a limited way in which we can “understand” since we all have some sort of pain or challenge. Our emotions help us to compare one experience with another and we are helped to begin to walk with the one grieving.
      One comfort I have gained is God’s promise that He will walk THROUGH the valley of the SHADOW of death. Two important words here: THROUGH and SHADOW. We will walk through the experience and not remain in it. Then there is a shadow which would not exist without light shing in from the open end of the tunnel.
      At those dark times, we must keep trusting as we slowly place one foot ahead of the other. God will prove Himself faithful in the end. Read the Book of Job several times – right to the last chapter.

  2. We thank God that His thoughts are too high for us to understand but we know He is Faithful.
    Trust Him to deliver you; and even if He does not His plans for you are perfect. He gave His Son for our salvation and that all we need.

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