What Does Jeremiah 29:11 Really Mean?

Perhaps one of the most common Bible verses found on bookmarks, in memory lists, and on social media posts is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”

This verse brings a message we cling to—a message of comfort and future hope while living in places and times full of stress, suffering, sadness, confusion, and anger. We read and recite this verse to direct our hearts and minds forward to a better time in a better place—the pleasant future God has planned for us.

The Context of Jeremiah 29:11

It is important—actually critical—for us to consider the context of this message of hope in Jeremiah 29:11. A small remnant of God’s chosen nation were living in exile in a foreign land, ruled by prideful and violent leaders whose goals were to dominate others while protecting their own view of an ideal culture. It was in this environment of suffering that God told his people how to live.

… Even though we may not live in physical exile from our land, like the people of Israel during the time of Jeremiah, we too suffer in other ways. But just as Israel had a hope then, there is a hope and a future for us today—God’s plan for his people, which is the salvation we have in Christ Jesus through faith by God’s gracious gift. We know that in the immediate context of Jeremiah 29, God’s plan of redemption was Israel’s temporal return to the physical land from Babylonian exile. We also know by reading the context of the entirety of Scripture that God’s ultimate plan is eternal redemption in Christ Jesus.

Neglecting either of the contexts above could lead us to think that the future hope and plan of God is merely our temporal and present good, prosperity, and blessing, and surely we do sometimes experience these providential gifts of God. Yet, he also promises that we will suffer, we will be persecuted, we will know pain, and this life will be a struggle (Phil. 1:29). Read more»

Dan Rowlands | “What Is God’s Plan For Your Life Here and Now?” | March 21, 2022


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