jer-29-11How many items is this verse on at your local Bible bookstore?:

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. (Jer 29:11)

This verse is often proclaimed to be a promise to Christians.  God has a wonderful plan for our future that involves lots of blessings.  Is this truly a promise to us that we won’t experience evil and our future will be peachy?

Let’s look at it in context.

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. … 10 “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. 11 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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 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. (Jer 29:1,10-14)

While this is a promise, is it a promise to all believers for all time?  No.  This was a message to the Jews living in Babylonian exile, promising that God would bring them back to the land of Israel.  This cannot possibly be a promise to us since God dis not drive us into the nations as judgment, and will not be moving us to the land of Israel.

Does this mean God does not have plans for our future?  Does it mean God has no blessings for us?  Of course not.  But if we want to appeal to such promises that God has made to us, then we need to properly cite the verses where such promises are made.  Just because we have the right message doesn’t mean we can cite the wrong verse.

Keep it in context….

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