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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

God Has a Plan for Our Nation

If you have followed my blog for the last few seasons, you may have detected a downtrend in the amount of original posts. There is a reason for that. I told myself it was because I was busy working on my doctorate, and it was ok to slow down. But I have tried to be transparent. The real reason is watching the disintegration of our nation has taken a toll on me. It sapped the joy out of me. It is time to write again, to come to grip with where we are in this moment. As this new year begins, I have picked a new Bible verse for myself, and I thought I would share with you why this one. The verse is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” As always, here is some background about the text.

The Historical Context of Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah is the prophet I related to in my ministry. My calls were to congregations that were in deep decline or heading in that direction. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to a people living in exile. During this portion of Scripture, the Israelites are living in captivity in Babylon. They are slaves. This is a critical historical piece to understanding this passage. So, often this passage is used as a personal message. “God has a plan for your life, and if you just remain faithful and prayerful, He will reveal it to you.” This wasn’t a message addressed to an individual, it was a message addressed to a nation.

The people needed to hear the truth. When you are trapped, false prophets rise with false hope. We have that here in America. We saw it after the 2020 election. We see it when it comes to financial predictions about the stock market. When hope is at an all-time low false prophets show up as hope sellers. And they are good at it because when people are down, captive, and scared, hope sells when fear prevails.

For the people of Israel, there were false prophets going around claiming that God was going to release His people soon. And in Jeremiah 29, God is denouncing these false prophets and telling His people that they are going to have to wait 70 more years. That’s bad news.

But God doesn’t stop there. Not only do they have to live in captivity for 70 more years, but God also instructs them to seek peace while they are there.

That’s some tough news to hear. Most of them hearing this message will be dead before being released. That’s a tough pill to swallow. The prophet Jeremiah is writing to real people enduring real suffering. This passage applies to Israel as much as it applies to us in America. We are real people facing genuine issues, and it might not get better in our lifetime.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

It’s a promise that God is still in authority, even when things are gloomy. It’s a promise that even though things might not make sense to them today, God’s plan is still good. This verse is giving hope to a group of people that are struggling with understanding what God is doing.

God was faithful to fulfill his promise to the nation of Israel. He did just what he said. That should bring hope to us that God will continue to fulfill his promises. Even in bleak times and challenging conditions, we can have the belief that God will bring us through.

This verse is not a guarantee that we will be flourishing in this life. That as long as we look to God, our ways of life will be easy and we will have all we crave. After all, we are following Jesus, who had anything but a stable existence. And he assured if we follow him, we would face comparable conflicts.

What is Jeremiah 29 informing us? It is an indication that even though we will experience hardships in this life, God’s promises are still true. He is trustworthy and will bring us through.

So Where Does this Leave Us?

What do we conclude with this verse? This verse is a pledge to God’s people that His plan for us is good. And who are God’s people? In the verse's context, it’s the Israelites. But when Jesus comes into the picture, He opens the gate for everyone. We are all His people. So the truth of this verse is still true for us today.

Many have taken this verse to mean that God will make their life peaceful, or they will get precisely what they require. But that’s not what this promise is. Really, it’s the contrary. This verse is declaring that we will have troubles. And the Israelites didn’t want to hear it. Many God-fearing Americans don’t want to hear it. For two years, I didn’t want to write about it or believe it. But here we are and instead of listening to the false voices telling us the better sounding noise. Sound familiar? That’s something we do all the time.

This verse is telling us that while life will get incredibly difficult, it is God who is in control. And while the hard season might not end tomorrow, God is still there and He will bring His people through it.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

So, when you see this verse at the end of all my correspondents this year, know that I am trying to remind you and myself of the promises of God. Have a blessed New Year.

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