The Plans He has for Us

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

“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. 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.”

The Setting

The people of God were living in open rebellion against the Lord, living in idolatry and in immorality. The Lord sent Jeremiah, the prophet of God, to speak to the people about their sins, to call them to repentance, and to warn them of divine judgment if they did not repent.

The people mostly ignored Jeremiah’s warnings, and they continued in their rebellious ways, in idolatry, in immorality, and in wickedness. So, God did as he had promised, and he did send judgment upon them, and now they were in captivity (in exile) in Babylon. And the judgment was to last 70 years.

And, then we have verse 11 which is quoted often, but which is usually taken out of context and is used as a general promise for all Christians of some kind of financial prosperity and of no harm coming to any of them and of them only facing stuff that is good and nothing bad, etc.

But that isn’t what it is saying. It is saying that after the 70 years of judgment that God promised, and that he fulfilled, then he would release them from their captivity in Babylon and he would bring them home, for his intention was not for them to be in captivity forever but to give them a future and a hope.

Modern Application

So, can this be applied to the church today in some way? Is there a lesson in here for us? I believe there is. For one, I see multiple parallels between God’s people’s moral and spiritual condition of that day to the church’s (at large) moral and spiritual condition today.

So much of the church today, at least here in America, has gone the way of the world. They have forsaken the love they had for Jesus at first and now they are chasing after the idols of men. They have turned God’s house, his church, into a marketplace to be marketed to the world just like any other business, and thus they have altered the church to attract the world.

Thus, they have also diluted the gospel message to make it more attractive and appealing to the world and to the flesh of humans. Not much any more are they teaching death to sin and living to righteousness and walking in the Spirit and no longer in the flesh. Instead, many are teaching we don’t have to turn from our sins, submit to Christ or walk in obedience to his teachings.

So, the church is now filled with people, including pastors, who are living in sin, in gross immorality, in open rebellion against the Lord, doing what their wicked hearts desire, without guilt and without conscience, because they are being taught that God’s grace covers it all and that they don’t have to do anything, because that would be works-based salvation.

The Judgment

Just like in Jeremiah’s day, the Lord has been sending out his messengers to confront some people professing the name of Jesus with their sins, calling them to repentance, and warning of divine judgment if they do not repent. And just like in Jeremiah’s day, the vast majority have not repented.

They not only continued in their rebellious ways, in idolatry, in spiritual adultery, and in immorality, but they pretty much obliterated the gospel message to where it now teaches the exact opposite message as what Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught us. So, the people are convinced they don’t have to turn from their sins, but that God still smiles on them.

So, I believe, the judgment of God is now upon us. Look at what all is taking place in the world and in our individual nations. I believe this is a direct result of the moral and spiritual decline of the church and of her refusal to repent of her sins and to turn back to the Lord in obedience to his ways.

I also believe the Lord is judging his people who have turned their backs on him in order to get them to return to him with all their hearts before he returns for his bride. And I believe we will see revival take place in the church in order for the gospel to spread throughout the world and in order for the bride to purify herself and to get herself ready for her husband.

God’s Plans for Us

For, God’s plans for us are that we not live in idolatry, adultery, immorality, and rebellion against him. His plans for us are that we walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, that we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

The hope and the future he wants to give us is salvation from sin and eternal life with him. But these are only promised to those believing in him, who are dying with him to sin, and who are living to him and to his righteousness as a matter of life course, though not necessarily in absolute perfection (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).

So, if we want to have this hope and this future, then we need to die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us. We must forsake our sins to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways. For, if we continue living in sin, making it our practice (habit, addiction), then we will die in our sins (Gal 5:16-21).

We will find the Lord when we seek him with our whole hearts, not by only giving him a passing nod or a cursory profession of faith in him. For, Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow him in obedience. Then we will have salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58).

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

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