Summary: There are few verses in the Bible that get quoted more than Jeremiah 29:11. People really connect to it, but does it connect to them? What does this verse really have to say to me?
A. Well, if you’re like me, the story made you angry – livid – it really raised my hackles
1. April – Michael Sharkey – thought his home was in good hands
2. Left to fight for our country in Afghanistan – but while gone – squatters –his home
3. Despite his ownership – no contract with squatters to live there –moved in –change locks
4. Police did nothing – civil matter –not their department –hire a lawyer –frustrated/violated
B. And it was frustrating to watch the story develop – frustrating for Sharkey –law-abiding
1. Soldier who was serving our country –home owner –tax payer – HIS property
2. And it was frustrating because no amount of logic/reason seemed to impact squatter
3. House was empty/available – no reason to move out – no reason to do what wanted
4. That was –until news –a certain motorcycle club –hundreds of members –on their way
5. That was the motivation the squatter needed to clean up – get out – middle of the night
C. We have very strong feelings about right and wrong – clear ideas of personal property-rights
1. We don’t like the idea of someone claiming something –no right to
2. Not theirs, not paid for, not suffered for – simply doesn’t belong to them
3. And yet – when it comes to this book (Bible) – very often we do just that
4. Find a promise we like in here –something that sounds good –looks good on a card
5. And we “name it and claim it!” But if we’re honest –too often –squatting on a scripture
D. There are a lot of great promises in here – beautiful things –give us hope –help
1. But it’s essential that we understand how to read them and how to apply them
2. Some of the promises God made to original audience came with a price – we didn’t pay
3. To simply claim them because they sound good – wish they were true –dangerous
4. Misapplying, misappropriating – mistake – simply squatting on Scripture
5. And making it say something to us that it was never meant to say.
E. There is probably no verse more guilty of misappropriating than Jeremiah 29:11
1. If you don’t recognize book/chapter/verse –promise you –recognize the words
2. See them on greeting cards, posters, plaques, Facebook posts and tattoos
3. It’s a beautiful verse – an amazing promise –but divorced from context…
4. It is misleading – need to ask – What did God really say? Really saying to us?
5. TEXT: JEREMIAH 29:11 (PAGE 656)
F. As your preacher I am constrained to applying Scripture within proper rules of interpretation
1. I cannot simply lift a passage out of its setting – historical, spiritual, scriptural ….
2. And apply it like a Band-Aid to whatever wound you have. Whatever need we experience
3. So I look at a passage like Jeremiah 29:11 and I have to ask – what is this teaching me/us?
4. What do I learn from a scripture like this? What is here. . . . for me?
Trans: And the very first thing I realize is something I’ve told you many times:
I. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME, IT’S ABOUT GOD
A. The problem with the way too many people apply this verse –lift it right out of the Bible
1. Right out of the book of Jeremiah, right out of the time/place it was written
2. Right out of the midst of Jeremiah 29:10, 12 – the rest of Jeremiah
3. And they say, “This sounds good! This is God’s promise for me! This is what I want!”
4. What makes us think we can do that? Do we get to pick which ones apply to us?
5. Jeremiah 11:11, “Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them.” –Anyone?
B. In the same way that squatters moved into Michael Sharkey’s home –didn’t pay for…
1. We didn’t pay for this verse – it’s not ours just because we land on it – claim it as own
2. In 597 BC King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah- rounded up 10,000 citizens – leaders-$$
3. Marched them off to Babylon – 500 miles from home –lost everything –what next?
4. From Jerusalem-Jeremiah wrote to them –told them – get on with your lives
5. Build homes, plant gardens –have kids–grandkids–be there 70 years
6. After 70 years –those of you left –return home –that was their hope/future
C. Actually –wasn’t their future, was it? 70 years? How many of those come back home?
1. This “hope” and “future” promise –was for their kids/grandkids
2. Not about personal fulfillment-your own happiness – your own plans