Summary: God has wonderful plans for us, that will give us hope and a future. He bless us where we are.
This is the Word of God to the people of Israel, now in exile in Babylon, a foreign land.
• The Babylonians had already destroyed Jerusalem and taken the people captives.
• They have lost their homes, their land, their jobs and for some, their families.
Psalm 137 was written during this time. Read the psalm and we can know how they feel. [137:1-4]
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
When everything is taken away from you, what you do not have is a hope and a future.
• And this is precisely what God will give them – a hope and a future.
• He said through prophet Jeremiah: “I know my plans for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (v.11)
God says He will bring them back from captivity.
• They will not remain in Babylon forever. 70 years was the time God has set for them.
• This was God’s discipline. The people had turned away from Him. They worshipped idols and did evil in the sight of the Lord.
• God has given them many warnings, urging them to repent and return. But they did not. He sent the Babylonians against them.
• So this was all God’s plan, to discipline them. But when the disciplining is over, God will bring them back.
God has a plan. God always has a plan. He says to them: “I know my plans for you.”
• God has a plan for your life. Do not be overwhelmed by the difficulties you are going through. Understand the will of God.
• God has a purpose in all that He allows in our lives.
• Our greatest fulfillment in life is in knowing God’s will and living according to His plan. Do you know what God wants you to do with your life?
Our life is not like a piece of log being tossed by the currents of this world.
• God says He has plans for His people. We may not understand them sometimes, but God does. He says, “I KNOW my plans for you…”
• He need not have to guess. God knows what He is doing in your life today.
• We may be confused, but God is perfectly clear.
In the midst of trouble, we often allow the circumstances to dictate us.
• We sit by the river, like the Israelites, and weep. There is no song in our heart.
• We forget that God is good. We forget that God has a purpose in everything He does. We forget that God has promised and it will come true.
• Don’t allow the harsh realities blind us from seeing God’s goodness and His will.
Jeremiah reminded the people, this is what the Lord says.
• He has "plans to prosper you and not to harm you..."
• God’s intention for us is always good. We may not see it at first, but trust Him.
• History tells us God is right, because after 70 years, the exile did return to their homeland. It seemed improbable but it happened. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
TWIN TOWERS SURVIVORS
On September 11, 2001 terrorists flew two hijacked passenger planes into the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Many who work in the Twin Towers survived because they were not there. They came together and shared their stories:
- One of them took his son to the Kindergarten, it was his son’s first day at school.
- One of them missed his bus.
- One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.
- For one, his car wouldn’t start that morning.
- One couldn’t get a taxi.
- And then there was this man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, but before he got to his office, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a store to buy a plaster. That is why he is alive today.
These messed up events saved their lives. We may be in a messed up situation today, but remember, God has His plan. The situation you are in may be where He wants you to be at this very moment.
God desires to bless His people where they are.
• They Lord asks them to settle down in Babylon. Build houses, plant gardens, and raise up your families (verse 5 onwards).