I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah, and it’s filled with God’s proclamation of judgement, not only on the Israelites, but on other nations like Moab, Babylon, and Egypt. As I’ve been reading it, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of times God said He planned evil for the people. It made me wonder if I’d ever read this part of the Bible before, as I’d never really noticed nor thought much about these judgments of God.
It was also glaringly obvious how Christians have isolated scriptures and used them out of context or stretched their meaning, to create a different, more acceptable perception of God; a god that does not cause evil nor has any evil intent towards anyone. For example, the most popular verse in Jeremiah is probably from Chapter 29, when God says concerning the Jews that He has judged and sent to captivity, saying, “I know the plans I have for you, plans of good and not of evil…” verse 11.
Within context, the good plans are promised to those who willing go into captivity, who do not resist the Babylonians that God has sent to judge them. For those who resist and stay back, God said His plan for them is evil; that they would be destroyed by the sword and famine, and the land would be left desolate. But for those who go into captivity, they won’t die, but they should rather keep the faith, live in peace in the land, and God will bring them back to their inheritance after they have endured the punishment and shame of being captives. Jeremiah actually kept countering the false prophets of the land, proclaiming peace, goodness and God’s favour on the rebellious people.
But it seems everyone who has quoted this has not understood this context. Or maybe they have. It is often used to say, “things may not be going as you imagined or hoped now, but trust God, cos He has good plans for you.” But does He? What if you are going through that situation because of your disobedience or rebellion?
Did God say that concerning the Babylonians? The Egyptians? All the Jews? No. He said it concerning a specific set of Jews, for a specific time and event. And certainly, this verse wasn’t written for or about Christians!
Why then did we take hold of it and reject the rest of the book, which is directed at the Jews, Babylonians, Egyptians, Philistines and other nations? Yes, it is encouraging, for when times are hard, and we believe we are favoured children of God. But in Christianity, it holds little relevance.
There are prophesies Jesus spoke concerning Believers that many of us seem ignorant of or have rejected, in our modern-day motivational Christianity. Jesus said that for His sake, many Believers will be persecuted and killed. That we will be hated by all because of Him. When He said, “if they do this in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry?” (Luke 23:31), He was attesting to the fact that things would get worse, as His second coming approaches, and not better.
Certainly, there are prophesies of protection, like when the Woman of Revelation 12 is taken into the wilderness during the time of tribulation…but still, the Dragon goes to make war with the Saints… Hmmm… Or when Jesus said that for the sake of the elect, the days of tribulation would be cut short (Mark 13:20). But the promise of tribulation for Believers stand, even if God gives some grace to endure it.
Jeremiah 29 certainly doesn’t apply for us at this time. This isn’t a time for planting and building, but for watching and praying. The Kingdom of God is at hand…
The future we are promised, the good plan, is salvation and eternity with Jesus. It isn’t financial success, world-wide recognition or any other dream we may have of making it in this world. In this world, we shall have tribulation, but still we rejoice, because Jesus has conquered the world (John 16:33).
Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com
If you liked this post, you might like THE POTTER AND THE CLAY
Are you blessed by this ministry? Why not partner with me?