Summary: God has a plan for our lives focused solely on our benefit not our demise.
LET’S GET ON WITH IT: GOD’S VIEW FOR US
JEREMIAH 29: 4-14
JANUARY 6, 2002
INTRODUCTION: E-mail from Steve (a friend from Seminary) concerning his uncertain, but sure future.
British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein was once visited in his studio by the eminent author and fellow Briton, George Bernard Shaw. The visitor noticed a huge block of stone standing in one corner and asked what it was for.
"I don’t know yet. I’m still making plans."
Shaw was astounded. "You mean you plan your work. Why, I change my mind several times a day!"
"That’s all very well with a four-ounce manuscript," replied the sculptor, "but not with a four-ton block."
Today in the Word, April 5, 1993.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: In a world of uncertainty we can live without fear. Our text for today speaks of a horrible situation in which God’s chosen find themselves.
The question that might have arisen in their minds is, “Does God know what’s going on and does he care?” Or, “Is God involved at all with us and the horror we face?” In the midst of it all, Jeremiah offers a different perspective, a God view as opposed to a human view. Jeremiah assures us, God has a plan!
THESIS SENTENCE: God has a plan for our lives focused solely on our benefit not our demise.
Much like the format of the Prayer of Jabez (I Chronicles 4:9-10), Jeremiah spells out God’s Plan for us in ONE short verse. In Jeremiah 29: 11. Let’s dig in and see just what it is that the Lord has planned for us.
I. GOD’S PLAN FOR US IS PROSPERITY
Kin Hubbard once said of PROSPERITY: I’ll say this for adversity--people seem to be able to stand it, and that’s more than I can say for prosperity.
A. Prosperity is survival!
1. Context is always the key of scripture.
2. Let me tell you the old familiar story: The Nation of Israel is now divided in to two segments, Judah which consists of the southern part of the kingdom and Israel which makes up the northern part of the kingdom. Each has become wicked and has allowed idolatry to rule. Because of the sin of the Nation/people, God has sent them into exile. At this point, God has chosen Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar as the instrument of his punishment. Chapter 27 reveals God’s plan. The key players of the Israel and Judah, the royalty and artisans have been taken into captivity and a remnant has been left behind. Verses 1-3 of our text tell the story.
3. The key thought here is that the prosperity God promises is not the American term we covet, but an understanding of a survivable present.
4. If you need the text to back this up, and we do, notice verses 5 – 7.
5. God even calls His Chosen to pray for the Prosperity of the Land to which they have been exiled!
WHERE ARE YOU IN EXILE AND ARE YOU PRAYING FOR THAT PLACE? ARE YOU ACCEPTING WHERE GOD HAS PLACED YOU AND ARE YOU LIVING WHERE YOU ARE?
B. Prosperity is knowing this too shall pass and it only gets better!
1. God gives dead lines: “When the seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to his place (Verse 10).”
2. Did you know God knows how much you can take and how much is needed for you to become the person He plans for you to be?
3. God has plans for our lives, but they will come about when He is ready and when we are mature enough to handle what He has for us.
4. Yes, God has plans to prosper us, but are we willing to be the people of prosperity?
5. In Chapter 1 verse 10, God promised Jeremiah, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
6. Chapter 18 beginning with verse 5 has this same “Promise Language” in it. “Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord.”
7. God has a plan to prosper us: Today we have the promise of being Children of the living God, can you receive the prosperity of that? We also have the promise of more than our minds can conceive, Eternity with God in His Kingdom.
II. GOD’S PLAN FOR US DOES NOT INCLUDE HARM
A. GOD IS NOT AN ABUSIVE FATHER
1. Verses 10 through 14 speak volumes to this truth. Hear them again!
2. God’s desire is to bless and not curse, but HE IS A HOLY GOD AND MUST PUNISH SIN!