Summary: A sermon dealing with the providential work of God in our lives.
"God's Game Plan"
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
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.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
I. The Past
a. The prophecy from God's Word
The background for this passage is to be found in the history of the nation of Israel leading up to the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem by a pagan King by the name of Nebuchadnezzar. The kings of Judah have rebelled against God and listened to false prophets. God has sent this Chaldean King to punishment them for their rebellious, idolatrous ways. Now God uses the prophet Jeremiah to deliver this message of hope.
(Jer 29:31) Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:
(Jer 29:32) Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.
Jeremiah 25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
b. The providence in God's Word
God has allowed His people to be carried into captivity but He has watched over them for 70 years and now it is time for a remnant to return to Jerusalem. God says that He is to "...cause you to return to this place." (Jerusalem)
Jeremiah 27:22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
c. The performance of God's Word
God says "...I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you..."
One thing to realize is that even when people have not been faithful, God is faithful! The Jews had been guilty of rejecting the message and messengers of Jehovah, they had rebelled against Him in spite of His goodness to them and they had received the justice that they deserved, but even this justice was tempered by mercy.
(Psa 33:11) The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
II. The Plans
a. The consideration
How many of you would be surprised to know that the God of the universe, the creator God who spoke everything into place, would think about you? That He would give any consideration to what is going on in the life of one individual when there are 6.5 billion alive at this moment? Yet that is the case! If you are like me it is difficult to wrap my mind around that idea but nevertheless it is true. To the Jews He is saying, these false prophets do not know though they pretend to, and you do not know but I know!
(Isa 55:9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
ALL PART OF GOD'S PLAN
ILL - In the opening pages of his autobiography, "An American Life," Ronald Reagan writes, I was raised to believe that God had a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all a part of His plan. My mother - a small woman with auburn hair and a sense of optimism that ran as deep as the cosmos - told me that everything in life happened for a purpose. She said all things were part of God's plan, even the most disheartening setbacks, and in the end, everything worked out for the best. If something went wrong, she said, you didn't let it get you down: You stepped away from it, stepped over it, and moved on. Later on, she added, something good will happen and you'll find yourself thinking -- 'If I hadn't had that problem back then, then this better thing that did happen wouldn't have happened to me.' After I lost the job at Montgomery Ward, I left home again in search of work. Although I didn't know it then, I was beginning a journey that would take me a long way from Dixon and fulfill all my dreams and then some. My mother, as usual, was right."