Meridian Star

Features

January 8, 2010

Walking out the Gospel

By Hank Garner

special to The Star



Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Sound familiar? I think we all have read this passage at some point and felt comforted and hopeful. I have seen this scripture on coffee cups and t-shirts. It seems that this scripture has become one of the most quoted passages in the Bible lately. But what if we don't understand the spirit in which this was written? Let's look at a little history.

God's people had been disobedient and like any parent, God had warned them and warned them. The prophets told them time and time again to repent or you will be taken into exile. So like disobedient children, they did not repent and God sent them into exile in Babylon. Now for a proud people this was probably devastating. Then God sends a message to them through His messenger Jeremiah.

Earlier in this often quoted chapter, God says what He wants them to do. Starting in verse 4 He says:

4 This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. 7 Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”

The promise in verse 4 comes with a stipulation if we read the whole thing in context. God says that if we are to have His blessing, we are to bless the city where He has planted us. We are to seek the welfare of the people around us. If we are a blessing to the city, He will be a blessing to us. Too often I think we are prone to over look the people around us and focus on pursuing God's blessing for our own lives and family. God wasn't letting His people off that easily though. Do good to them, and I will do good to you.

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