Today’s Scripture devotion is from Jeremiah 29:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
This verse contains such a precious and beautiful promise of God. However, its original context is far from rosy; the first recipients of this promise were the inhabitants from Jerusalem that had been taken into Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 29:1) and who therefore faced an uncertain future.
Nonetheless, God comforted those being taken into exile by assuring them that He had plans to prosper them and to give them hope and a future.
But why was God so good to the inhabitants of Jerusalem despite their sin (which eventually led to God disciplining them by taking them into captivity)?
I believe that the reason can be found in Jeremiah 29:12:
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:12
In other words, I believe that God is good to us because He desires that we pray to Him and that we seek Him with all our heart.
God’s goodness, however, does not diminish the fact that when we do wrong, God will discipline us, just as He had dealt with the inhabitants of Jerusalem according to their sin. Indeed, in the book of Hebrews, we learn:
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”Hebrews 12:5b-6 (NLT)
Nonetheless, even as we are being disciplined, God’s good plans for us remain, so that after we have suffered our discipline, we can expect God to restore us.