For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. This Scripture is a part of the letter sent by Zedekiah King of Judah to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The letter included the prophecy of prophet Jeremiah to the people of Judah who were taken away from Jerusalem to Babylon as captives by king Nebuchadnezzar.
People of Judah sinned against God and so God delivered them in the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Many prophets were prophesying in the name of God that God would deliver them from the bondage very soon. But the word of God came to Jeremiah that the captivity would extend for seventy long years. But then He told these consoling words.
God promised them to take them back to their own country which was the place where they have joy and happiness. They were expected to do according to the instructions from God in their captivity so as to get delivered and go back to their country with the hope for their future. There would be no evil in their own land.
Similarly, the kingdom of God is our own country (2 Corinthians 5:1,2). Our hope is for Eternity with Christ. It is our desire that was promised by God to us for our future. There would be no sorrow and sighing (Isaiah 35:10).
God has the thoughts of peace for us to bring us to the heavenly Kingdom. We who live on this earth need to do according to the instructions from God to receive the eternal joy of the Kingdom of God.
1. Obey the word of God
Jeremiah prophesied and told the people to go with the Chaldeans who besiege them and if they remain in the city, they would be destroyed (Jeremiah 21:9). God’s thoughts of peace were for the people who went with the Chaldeans to Babylon obeying the word of God.
They did not lack anything in that country, while people who stayed back in Jerusalem were destroyed by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence according to the word of God. God provided all the blessings to them even in the country of their captivity. God provided a peaceful life even when they were under bondage (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
When the word of God instructs us to do something, we should be ready to obey the word without question. We may have to go through troubles and grief if we obey the word of God. But we will have peace in the midst of our problems and God will help us to live without any lack. And also God is faithful to give us eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9). But if we disobey the word of God we cannot sustain in this sinful world and we will be kept for the wrath of God (Colossians 3:6).
2. Pray for those who do evil
The Chaldeans besieged the people of Judah and brought them from their own country to an unknown place as captives. The people of Judah could have prayed for the destruction of the city of Babylon as the people of Babylon have done evil to them. But God told them to pray for the peace of the city of Babylon (Jeremiah 29:7).
If we want God to have thoughts of peace for us, we need to pray for those who did evil to us. We need to seek the peace of those who want to rejoice when we fall. We have to love our enemies as Jesus instructed us to do (Matthew 5:44). If we do like that, we will be the children of God, the heirs of His kingdom (Matthew 5:45; Romans 8:17).
3. Don’t get deceived by false preachings
There were many prophets in those days to tell them that the captivity won’t last long and God would deliver them immediately. They tried to deceive people and bring them towards themselves for their personal gain (Jeremiah 6:13,14). They were prophesying lies in the name of God for the destruction of both themselves and people who hear them (Jeremiah 27:15). God instructed them not to get deceived by the words of those prophets (Jeremiah 29:8).
In these last days, there are many false preachers who preach for their personal gain while altering the truths of Christian faith (1 Timothy 4:1). We should have the discerning spirit to find those deceiving spirits and protect ourselves from those deceiving people and their doctrines of lies. If we protect ourselves from getting deceived by false doctrines, God is faithful to bring us to His Kingdom, the New Jerusalem as He promised us.
4. Repent back to God
People of Judah were under captivity because of their sins. As they knew that and accepted the punishment for their sins, they came with the Chaldeans as captives. They knew that their God is the one who visits the iniquity of fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:5).
God told them that if they could seek Him wholeheartedly, they would find Him (Jeremiah 29:12,13). While on captivity, if they seek the face of God and repent back to Him, He promised to bring them even from the ends of the earth to their own country (Jeremiah 29:14).
It is necessary to repent back to God from our sins for God to fulfill His thoughts of peace for us (Isaiah 55:7). When we repent back to God from our iniquities, God is faithful to bring us to His kingdom and make us rejoice in His presence.