Summary: Many times we face unexpected disappointments, especially when we have been praying and it seems like our prayers are not being answered. What should be our response now?
Tonight, we’re going to look at a familiar passage of scripture – Jeremiah 29. And the message tonight has three parts. The first part will be encouragement. The second part is going to be a reminder. And the third part is going to be a challenge.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
So many people will take that verse and say things about the verse that are pretty good. But when you keep the verse in its setting, it really, really is an encouraging verse.
So, were going to go back up to verse one. We know, before we read verse one, that God has said Israel is going to be in captivity to Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years. And we also know that Hananiah, another prophet, came behind Jeremiah, who delivered that prophesy, and said Jeremiah was wrong and that God would deliver Israel from Nebuchadnezzar within two years. We know that did not happen.
Let’s begin with verse one.
“Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.”
I want to stop here for a minute because the analogy we’re going to see tonight in what we are going to read, can also apply to the body of Christ today.
We know that Nebuchadnezzar did not share the same values and the same standards that God had given to the children of Israel. Can we agree on that?
The administration that we live under here in the United States today – they do not share the values and standards, now listen to me closely, of BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY. Notice I didn’t just say Christianity. I said biblical Christianity. There is a huge difference in the two ladies and gentlemen.
We’re going to pick this record up in verse four and we’re going to see how these verses can also apply to us today given the situation we are in – the current political environment we live in.
So let’s look at verse four.
Keep in your mind as we read these verses what we read in verse 11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil to give you an expected end.”
Verse four: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
Thus saith the Lord to all the biblical Christians who are living under the current administration that does not share their values and standards.
Verse five: “Build ye houses, and dwell in them, and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;
Verse six: “Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”
I want you to get this picture ladies and gentlemen. The children of Israel know that they are captives. And God says, I know you’re captive, but I want you to live your life. I don’t want you to be focused on the captivity. I want you to be focused on the thoughts that I have toward you. And those thoughts are not of evil but they are of peace
So ladies and gentlemen, those of us who are living by the standards that live within us because of our born again spirits – we are not in agreement with the current administration. We can disagree with the policies but ladies and gentlemen, we are still commanded to pray for them. We declare God’s best for them.
The Bible never says you have to agree with those in leadership. The Bible never says you have to like those in leadership. The Bible says you pray for those in leadership. God didn’t say you have an option. God didn’t say if you want to. God says that is what you do.
Now, here we read where the Lord says build houses, live them and plant your gardens and enjoy their fruits. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the same thing for us today. God is telling us not to focus on what’s going on in Washington. You live your life. You continue to serve me. You build your houses. You go to your jobs. Why? Because I know the thoughts I have toward you.