The Plans I Have

The plans i have

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Read: Jeremiah 28:1-29:32, 1 Timothy 1:1-20 Psalm 86:1-17, Proverbs 25:17

Relate: Imagine yourself a lonely traveler on the road heading from Jericho to Jerusalem. It’s a war torn land. All the wells have been stopped a few years back to keep the invader from having easy access to water. Combine that with the foraging done by the Babylonians when they did arrive and there is nothing. The land is desolate.

And off in the distance heading towards you is a dust cloud. Thinking it is the army and not wanting to be pressed into labor you quickly get off the road. From the vantage point of a nearby hill you see that it is the army… well, kind of. There are some soldiers but far outnumbering of them are captured Hebrews. This is the beginning of the forced resettlement of an entire nation. Marching in a bedraggled line are thousands of thousands of beaten, downtrodden men and women and children. They are little more than slaves in chains.

Then a few miles off in the distance, you see someone shouting something from horseback. You cannot hear what he is saying but you strain to hear anyways. Apparently he is shouting out something he is reading from a scroll. After a bit he finishes up and starts galloping in your direction. It is the oldest son of Shaphan, a former adviser of the last great king, Josiah. What is his name again?

Never mind, it looks like he is stopping a few hundred yards beyond you at the next hill on the far side of the road. Listen…

“A letter! From the prophet Jeremiah! Hear the words of the Lord! For seventy years I am sending you as captives to Babylon! Do not fight against this yoke! Rather than grow bitter, find jobs! Build houses! Marry and have children! Do not seek the harm but rather the well being of Babylon and it’s people!”

As he reads out the letter something inside of you boils with rage. These Babylonians are an evil people. They sacrifice their children in the fire. Their city is a cesspit of filth and all kinds of unspeakable evil. You have seen the product of what the army does when moving through a village. You can see around you the result of this war on the land. You can see before you the atrocities they do to the people themselves. The Babylonians do not just conquer land. They destroy cultures. They take the best and the brightest for themselves and then move almost everyone else to various distant lands to ensure that there will never be a threat from that people group ever again.

But the speaker is not done. He says something that breaks you from your reverie. It grips you deep in your soul and a tear comes unbidden to your eye. After a pause, with deep emotion in a faltering voice he says it again…

” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’ ”

React: This is one of those verses that everybody knows and many people have as their favorite. I’m glad. It is a comfort. It is a great verse. But I’ve seen people use it almost as a charm against anything bad happening, or for whatever bad that is happening to end quickly. “I know God won’t let me go into captivity, after all hasn’t He said, ‘I know the plans…’ ” Or, “I’m in captivity now but God won’t let me stay here long, after all hasn’t He said, ‘I know the plans…’ ”

70 years. Captives. That’s the context in which we found this most beautiful of truths. God is far more interested in our position than in our circumstances, and the position He wants for us is to be right next to, and completely dependent on Him. That is our future. That is our hope.


Dear God d
Do whatever You want to do with me. If that means allowing me to go into captivity, bring on the chains. Whether in good times or hard, whether in worldly success or failure, the most important thing is that I am pursuing after You. Help me to want that more. Strip away any other desires that might be pulling away from that goal. Be my only hope. You are my only future.

29 thoughts on “The Plans I Have

  1. How true. And the prayer at the end is one we most certainly love to pray, but oh how we cringe to think He will hear it and answer it. Good stuff

    “With God, you just have to walk through life’s ugly to get to see His lovely” – Anonymous


  2. Reblogged this on emalineachieng and commented:
    the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the LORD

  3. “70 years. Captives.”
    What a brilliant post, BJ. As I read this that number and that word stayed. 70 years is beyond my lifetime. Probably my children – if not towards the end of their lives.

    We are not just talking a number, we are speaking of generations passing.

    What would I do, think, be and become? Who knows. But a very worthwhile ponder for the days or weeks when He seems distant. Thank you.

  4. I like the way you put it in context. It’s about captivity.
    It’s rather coincidental. Last night I was caught up in a bout of near depression as I thought of some to the things that have been around rather too long in my life. Things I want gone.
    As I lay in bed sulking the words of this verse just started singing in my head.
    I immediately knew what was happening. God was comforting me.
    The heavy burden just lifted and I had to ask God to forgive me for getting angry at that situation. He indeed knows the plans… better than we do.

  5. A future and a hope! Jesus prayed for us in John 17. He prayed not that we would be relieved from the worldly afflictions, but rather that we would be protected from the evil one, that we would be sanctified by the truth and be one with each other and with Him. Captivity has a way of doing that with God’s people. In captivity, we see Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In captivity, we see Nehemiah who led the people to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. May we trust that God’s plans for us are good, and may we believe that He has a future and a hope for us beyond our imaginations. Thank you for this post. Karen

  6. Thanks for this timely post that ministered to me with laser precision. I appreciate your setting the context for the verses that have become so popular these days. As always, thanks for your insight and thoughtful expression of the truths of the Word of God. Again, the song at the end was perfect–so touching.

    Thanks also for the like posted on my blog.

  7. Hhmmm. Interesting. I’m doing a teaching tomorrow using this same scripture and same basic point. It’s not about circumstances. It’s about our will becoming one with his. Our trust of his love and wisdom. But is the church even now seeing a movement of those making a journey back to Jerusalem, and those happy to stay in Babylon?

  8. It’s always a God moment when the same verse is put in front of me twice in the same day. It was part of my devo this morning and I just logged in here to see it again. Thing is I don’t read my followed blogs everyday. It’s a God moment. Thankyou!

  9. I have not logged into my WordPress account for months, and I mean Months. I don’t know why I logged in today but as soon as it loaded I see your post! This scripture has been the one that has pulled me through many hard times. It has shown up unexpected Many times in my life right when I have needed it most. Right when I was about to loose hope and give up. A friend of mine came by my house one day and he had no idea that this scripture was the very one that God uses to get my attention. I was so down and his words seemed to just sweep by my ears as he talked. In the middle of whatever he was saying he stopped and stood there a moment with his eyes closed and his face toward Heaven. When he began to speak again he was saying Jeremiah 29:11 word for word. Tears began to fall from my eyes and I was sobbing uncontrollably. God has ways of talking to us through His word. I am so thankful that I did log on and that your post was the first that I see. God Bless You!!! ❤

    • Instead of starting a fresh comment, I want to respond to THIS comment. What I just understood from looking at the words AROUND this verse, and what I sense that MisJ is sharing is that, yes, God has a good plan for us – even when things aren’t what we’d call “good.” This doesn’t mean we’ve been abandoned. Our Father always sees us, wherever we are. He”s not blind to our situation, and certainly not deaf to our cries. He already knows how the story will end. All we need to do is keep on living and stand. He’s got this. He sees you. He knows you. He loves you!

  10. Hi beejai! This is true! Sometimes Jeremiah 29:11 is used out of context. And I’ll be honest that I am one of those but when I read your post, I was reminded again that even in the midst of captivity or slavery, God wants to use us for His glory. God bless!

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