Sunday, January 31, 2010
God had other plans. He used the prophet Jeremiah to deliver a message to the Jews telling them they would need to rely on their faith in God to see them through. In summary, God’s words may have sound like this, “Face the facts. You’ll be in exile for a long time so make the best of it. Get out of the tents, build homes, plant gardens, have children, and encourage them to marry. Go forward in the midst of your hard times.” Then he asked them to do something very difficult – pray for their captors.
God had a greater purpose for the Jews and he was using their challenges as a time to teach them to trust him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all our heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
God’s plan was to give them a hope and a future greater than they could ever have imagined, but they had to trust him and seek him with all their heart.
The Jews were in exile, removed from the familiar, away from their homeland. The Jews were stuck, afraid to move forward with their lives, afraid to turn back. Like the Israelites, we’re often in exile too. We get stuck. Sometimes catastrophes come into our lives that remove us from the familiar. Sometimes we find ourselves in “exile” because of our own bad choices, the bad choices of others, or because of circumstances over which we have no control.
Often there are people, like the False Prophets, that discourage us or give us bad advice. The message that God gave the Jews 2,500 years ago is the message he gives us today. God has plans for us, plans to give us a hope and future far greater than we could ever imagine. He wants us to seek him with all our hearts. He wants us to become “unstuck” by making the best of our situations. He wants us to move forward with faith, hope, and purpose.
This week let’s think about where we may be stuck in exile and search our hearts for the plan that God may have in store for us.