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 on 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 your heart.
Jeremiah sent this message to the Jewish leaders at a very difficult time in Jewish history, for as we can see in verse 1 of this chapter, it is part of a letter he sent to the surviving elders who were being held in Babylonian captivity.
This is a message of hope for a future which would have appeared to be very dark to those who received it, for they had been dragged hundreds of miles from home by the greatest military force on the planet at the time. Consequently, there was no earthly hope available to them.
Imagine how that would feel- utter hopelessness.
Yet they received a message of hope from none other than God Himself: Things would eventually change. As it happened however, that change didn’t quite take place within the lifetimes of the original recipients.
The captivity lasted 70 years. In spite of that, the change did come in the fulness of time: God kept His promise that had been made to the very people who were most responsible for the captivity in the first place, the leaders of the people who had rebelled against God.
Now there is something to think about.
Looking at this whole situation through the long lens of the New Testament, we can see something even more amazing, for it can be said that there is more to these promises than the original recipients could have understood in their time.
All of humanity has been held in bondage to sin and death since the events of Genesis chapter three. From as early as the time of Abraham, God has promised that He would set humanity free of those chains, and in fact He has already done so through the work of His Son, Jesus. In Him, our sin has been taken away, and we have an eternal future. Even so, our entire world has been going through a very difficult time for the past year and for many it has been a time of sorrow and deep loss, loss of loved ones, livelihoods, and in a sense even of liberty in their daily lives.
There is a better day coming! Yes, it will be a better when this terrible pandemic passes from the scene, but let’s not forget that pandemics are really nothing new. The great day comes when Jesus returns and takes all sin, death, pain, sickness and suffering away for good.
I don’t know when that will be, but I do know that our God has a perfect record when it comes to keeping His promises; He will never let us down, and when the times are tough, that is the basis of our hope.
And what a hope we have!