From Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV) comes the Verse of the Day for February 24, 2017:
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. 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.
Jeremiah 29:11, the first verse of this celebrated passage, was listed as second of the Top 10 most popular verses accessed through Biblegate.com in 2015. I recall hearing this verse for the first time in the New International Version of the Bible more than 20 years ago:
11 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.
To more fully understand the magnitude of God’s declaration, take a look at the following video that graphically illustrates the context of the verse taken from Jeremiah 29:11-14
The New Living Testament renders Jeremiah 29:11-13 in this way:
11 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.
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
In reflecting on this familiar passage from the Old Testament, I thought of the first time that I heard Jeremiah 29:11 which occurred as I was embarking upon a new assignment in my career as well as in my ministry. Two decades later I find myself in a similar position of transition, having returned to the same place where I was at that time. “Oh, the Providence of God!”
Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:
Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.
Hope has been defined as “the expectation of a future good.” In thinking about our eternal hope, I remember lines from one of Emily Dickinson’s poems that described hope in a particularly intriguing way, as the opening lines serve as the title and epigraph for this poem:
“Hope is the thing with feathers. . . “
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Romans 8:24-25 [New Living Translation]
As a rare exotic bird, arrayed in brilliant plumes,
Hope rises as a phoenix, a many-feathered thing:
As a lark ascending at sunrise sings on the wing
A melody that fades but then suddenly resumes,
So Hope conveys a message without a single word.
This glorious song of Hope will take us to the place where
Golden notes provide escape from any fowler’s snare:
The tune lingers to remind us that we, too, have heard
Heavenly harmonies in our innermost ear.
Perched in the depths of our soul, Hope has found a new home.
The songbird prepares our heart to receive what is to come.
While we wait in patience, God’s presence is ever near.
In these times of darkness and despair we will recall
And listen to hear Hope’s song that never stops at all.
Although the prophetic word from Jeremiah is specifically addressed to Israel, those words of comfort and hope can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel.
As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). Jeremiah 29:11-13 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.
Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song) a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11