Jeremiah is very poignant in reminding us that we are to live within the reality of our times, focus on the responsibilities before us, and find hope in the revelation and promises of God. One passage, Jeremiah 29:4-14, makes this undoubtedly clear. Many have hijacked verse 11 for a momentary and emotional burst of well-being (“for I know the plans that I have for you…to prosper you…not to harm you…to give you hope and a future”). But this is preceded by a declaration that they would soon be entering 70 years of captivity. And in verses 4-9 they were told to accept and acclimate and adjust to their new plight. This would be their “new normal.”
Do these feelings sound familiar? “…death climbing through the windows and invading their personal fortresses” (9:21). “We hoped for a time of healing but there was only terror” (8:15). “Why is this happening to me” (13:22)?!
- Initially, let us look inward. Truth and civility have disappeared from our conversations (7:28). Every person seems presumptuous and condescending (51:17). And we have settled into feeling safe about doing detestable things without being conscious that God is watching (7:10-11).
- We begin to question our ability to “fix” things and yet it may get more precarious (12:5).
- All of this is driving us to boast in our confidence in God rather than in ourselves (9:23-24).
- Now read Jeremiah 1:4-10. The Sovereign God, who created you, knows you, and loves you, now commissions you. He thrusts you into these present circumstances with a task that defines and dignifies you! Jeremiah’s name means “Jehovah establishes, appoints, sends.”
- So, call on Him and let Him show you unsearchable things that will probably surprise you (33:3)!
- Our God is aware of and controls all of this! “A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary” (17:12)!