On Sunday night, our student ministry met at our home as we normally do studying the book of Proverbs. But this night was a little different. We have just entered a brand new year and I felt compelled to ask them about their plans for the New Year ahead of them. Have they made plans? Any new year’s resolutions? Where do you hope to go on your walk with the Lord?

That took us to the book of Jeremiah and we looked at, you guessed it, chapter 29, verse 11. But I really wanted to challenge these students so we didn’t just look at verse 11. We looked at the forgotten and overlooked verse 11 through 14.

While  none of the students made any real plans or resolutions, I expressed to them that God DOES have a plan for them and their lives. When Jeremiah says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, that we need to understand that God KNOWS those thoughts, those plans for us. That might sound a little silly but we would be wise to remember that God knows, He has not forgotten.

The Israelite’s Jeremiah was speaking to were in captivity in Babylon and they needed to be reminded of God’s promises and His thoughts towards the people that He loves. We sometimes allow ourselves to be held captive or carried away into types of slavery on this earth and God wants US to remember His promises as well. When we remember, it brings hope.

When we are in captivity because we have walked away (like the elephant graveyard in The Lion King) we tend to forget God’s goodness and can begin to think that God is against us and that our captivity is intended for evil. But God uses Jeremiah to tell His people there is a future for them and a hope. Everyone suffers in captivity. If we change the wording a little, everyone suffers when they speak outside of God’s will and purpose. Correction is needed.

When Jeremiah uses the word “future”, it should be viewed as an “end”. There would be an end to their suffering and captivity – a hopeful end. Joy comes in the morning and there is always a hopeful purpose for what God allows. If we are captive and walk up tomorrow, we have still wake up and there is hope for tomorrow. Suffering doesn’t last forever.

Look at the future for God’s people.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive – Jeremiah 29:12-14.

Why on earth do I never hear this talked about? Talk about hope. You will call up me, you will pray to me and I will listen – no temple; no rituals. Just them and God and He will listen and hear. That is a great hope and promise for a people that historically walked away from God to know and have confidence that God is still there, loving Him children.

God would not hide Himself for them. When they begin to seek after Him, He would be found. They would seek after Him and He would be revealed – this is hope. He would bring them out of captivity and bless them – not blessing as we think of blessing, not money or material wealth. This blessing would be their rescue and restoration from slavery. Ultimately this rescue, this freedom would have a name and that name is Jesus – the name above all names. God sent His Son to die and a cruel Roman cross and shed His blood for the sins of mankind that we would never be separated from Him. Put your faith and your hope and your trust in Him.

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