Our Future Hope

Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-known verse of Scripture. It says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

But few people quote or understand this verse in its context. Here is the verse just preceding it, verse 10; “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you and cause you to return to this place.” So, the primary context is Israel’s captivity in Babylon and God’s promise of their restoration.

Now, here are the two verses immediately following the familiar verse 11. They say, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

The promise of verse 11 is given in the context of discipline. The children of Israel were in Babylon because they disobeyed God’s commands, especially regarding keeping the Sabbath year with its reminders of God’s ownership of the land. The goal of genuine discipline is always restoration. God’s heart was to see His people restored to their relationship with Him and with His land.

But notice too, that the promise is conditional. It is based on whether or not His people will actually seek Him with their whole heart.

You may find yourself in a very difficult situation at the present. The promise of verse 11 may be very appealing to you. But have you considered the possibility that what you’re facing is a result of poor choices made in the past? And even if it isn’t, what is God wanting to teach you through this? Are you willing to seek Him with all your heart? If so, He has promised to listen to you.

According to the Scriptures, I am confident that all genuine Christ-followers have a future and a hope. But unless we stay focused on seeking and knowing Jesus, we may experience our own personal “Babylon.” So, together, let’s seek the Lord, let’s listen for His voice, and then anticipate that future and that hope He has promised.

-J. Mark Horst

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