Tag Archives: Jeremiah

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A Deeper Dive Into Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11—with its references to God’s plans, prosperity, protection from harm, peace, and a future filled with hope—is often offered as a spiritual “security blanket” to people who are struggling. The verse has inspired and comforted countless believers who interpret it to mean that if they endure their immediate circumstances, they will emerge victorious, triumphant, and celebrated in God’s ultimate plan of prosperity. They anticipate a moment when their suffering ends and their flourishing begins.

Israel in Exile

The context of the Old Testament passage, however, casts a different light on the verse. Here’s the situation. The people of Israel were in exile in Babylon. Their homeland had been conquered by the Babylonians, and they had been taken prisoners as punishment for their disobedience to God.

In exile, the Israelites were desperate for hope. And a false prophet named Hananiah was only too happy to take advantage of their desperation. Hananiah proclaimed that God would free the Israelites from captivity and return them to their homeland within two years, which was a lie. So the task fell to Jeremiah, the true prophet of God, to set matters straight.

God’s True Plan

Jeremiah exposes Hananiah’s lie, and in Jeremiah 29:11 he quotes God’s actual promise. The Lord did, in fact, have a plan for the Israelites—one that offered hope and a prospering future. But it wasn’t the plan that the Israelites envisioned. In fact, God’s plan was approximately 180 degrees from what the Israelites envisioned.

The details of God’s plan are tied to a set of instructions found four verses earlier. “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7). God linked the Israelites’ hope and future prosperity to the success and prosperity of Babylon.

Hope in Captivity

In order to realize the blessings of God’s promise, the Israelites had to pray for and work toward the prosperity of their enemies, the very people who had made them slaves! The hope and future God had in store for them did not include an immediate return to their homeland or the restoration of their freedom—the two things the Israelites wanted most. In fact, in verse 10, God announces that the Babylonian captivity would last for “seventy years.” The generation of Israelites to whom Jeremiah prophesied had no hope of ever seeing their homeland again.

What they had instead was hope in the midst of captivity—the unexpected hope that is revealed through spiritual growth, the hard-earned spiritual growth that occurs only through perseverance, the perseverance that is learned from enduring difficult circumstances with God’s help.

What is Our Hope?

So what do we take away from Jeremiah 29:11? First, if we put our trust in Christ, we can anticipate an ultimately glorious future—one spent in God’s presence for eternity. Second, God’s plans for His people in this world rarely involve helping us escape from our trials completely. He doesn’t make our suffering disappear. Instead, He helps us persevere through them. He helps us grow and mature in ways we wouldn’t otherwise grow and mature apart from tough times. He helps us find joy in the unlikeliest of circumstances. It’s the kind of joy that affects not just our lives but the lives of others as well. He prospers us in ways that expand our understanding of prosperity.

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Lucado Encouraging Word Bible is designed to encourage believers along their journey with the Lord. Max Lucado’s warm, conversational style ensures that the marginal notes, short articles, and various study tools meet you where you are, providing encouragement and insight. This Bible will strengthen you as you follow the included reading plan and incorporate this Bible into your daily devotional life.

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11 Bible Verses to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Nov 4, 2019 |

In this season of giving thanks, here are a few Scriptures you can use to prepare your heart, share your gratefulness with others, and meditate on while the busyness of the holiday swirls around you.

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O 
Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O 
Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor 
come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.”

Psalm 9:1-2

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the 
Lord is good;
His mercy is 
everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 105:1-3

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

Psalm 107:8-9

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Psalm 136:1

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Jeremiah 30:19

Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving

And the voice of those who make merry;
I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

John 6:11

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

2 Corinthians 4:15

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Philippians 1:3-6

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. 

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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Thanksgiving Prayers Straight from the Bible

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Attitudes of Gratitude: Stories of Thankfulness in the Bible

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Claiming the Bible’s Legacy of Hope

God compiles a remarkable résumé in the pages of Scripture—not just for His own glory, but for our benefit as well. Time and time again, He proves Himself to be faithful. He honors His Word. He fulfills the terms of His covenants.

God Comes Through Even When It Seems Impossible

God proved Himself faithful to Abram (Abraham) and his descendants. Genesis 12 records the covenant God made with Abram. He instructed Abram to leave his homeland of Ur for a new land—a land called Canaan, where Abram and his descendants would dwell. Descendants were part of the covenant, too—a nation of descendants as innumerable as the stars in the night sky (Genesis 15:5).

Abram and his wife Sarai (Sarah) were childless at the time. Abram was 75 years old. Yet Abram took God at His word and moved his household to Canaan. Twenty-five years passed.

During that period, Abraham and Sarah lost sight of God’s timetable and concocted a plan whereby Abraham would father a son (who was given the name Ishmael) with Sarah’s handmaid. They convinced themselves that it was the only way for God’s covenant to be fulfilled.

And then Sarah became pregnant.

She was 90 years old. Abraham was 100.

They named their son Isaac. Isaac later fathered a son named Jacob, also known as Israel. Jacob, in turn, fathered 12 sons—and a nation was born.

Abraham learned that God’s faithfulness isn’t bound by time or the laws of nature.

God Comes Through Even When His People Don’t

Abraham’s descendants—the nation of Israel—proved themselves to be anything but faithful. They turned their backs on God and embraced idols. They rejected His kingship and demanded human rulers. They abandoned His teachings and forgot the stories of His great works.

Through it all, though, God remained faithful. He sent prophets to warn them of the dire consequences of their disobedience. When the people wouldn’t listen, He allowed their enemies to conquer them and carry them away into captivity.

Even at that point—arguably, Israel’s lowest—God would not give up on Abraham’s descendants. “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” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God Comes Through Even When It Costs Him Dearly

God’s faithfulness didn’t stop there. Passages such as Isaiah 49:5-6 reveal the extent of His love for His people—and for all people. Through His prophet Isaiah, God promised to send a Savior, One who would “restore the preserved ones of Israel,” serve as a “light to the Gentiles,” and bring God’s “salvation to the ends of the earth.” He fulfilled His promise centuries later by sacrificing His only Son to pay the price for sin—faithful beyond measure.

Malachi 3:16 assures us that God doesn’t change. He is still faithful to His people. So there is always hope to be found, no matter how bleak things may seem. We may not know what that hope will look like, when to expect it, or how it will change our circumstances, but we can put our trust in a faithful God.

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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Which Bible Characters Struggled with Depression?

The heroes of the faith loom so large in the consciousness of believers that it often comes as a surprise—and a comforting reassurance—to realize that they were every bit as human as we are. After all, if God worked in the midst of their struggles and weaknesses to accomplish his will—often in extraordinary ways—he can and will do the same in our lives.

Case in point: if you’ve ever struggled with depression, you may find comfort and encouragement in knowing that several well-known Bible characters seemed to struggle with it as well.

David

In Psalm 42:11, David asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” The beloved king of Israel seemed to have it all. He had enjoyed more victories and success than any other leader in Israel’s history. He was revered by his subjects and respected by his enemies. He had wealth, prestige, and family. God called him a man after his own heart.

Yet David was no stranger to the dark night of the soul. All of the accomplishments and adulation in the world couldn’t insulate him from bouts of depression.

Elijah

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah scores one of the most decisive victories in the Old Testament. He challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest. He will prepare one altar; they will prepare another. The God (or god) who sends fire to receive his offering will be declared the God of Israel. The prophets of Baal are unable to elicit so much as a spark from their god. Elijah’s God, on the other hand, sends a fire that consumes everything in its path, leaving no doubt as to who deserved Israel’s worship.

When his mountaintop experience ended, Elijah crashed—hard. A few verses later, we read this: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” (1 Kings 19:4).

Naomi

Naomi’s future looked bleak. Her husband had died. So had her two sons, leaving no one to provide for her. She was stranded in a foreign land with no clear sense of how she was going to survive. Naomi’s story is found in the book of Ruth. At the center of the story is the bond between Naomi and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who is also widowed.

Yet even that bond is not enough to lift the spirits of Naomi. Her bitterness and despair pour out in Ruth 1:20–21. When Naomi and Ruth return to Naomi’s hometown, the women recognize Naomi and greet her by name.

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Jeremiah

StormsThe ministry God called Jeremiah to was a difficult one. Nicknamed the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah was often the bearer of bad news. He was rejected, despised, and punished by the people he was sent to minister to. He remained faithful to God and resilient in the face of ridicule, but he felt the pain of loneliness deeply. His words in Jeremiah 20:14, 18, will resonate with anyone who has struggled with depression:

Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! . . . Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Each of these people has an important story to tell—one that involves depression but doesn’t end there. Their stories also include wonderful, thrilling, and heartwarming accounts of how God worked in and through their lives to accomplish his will.

 

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INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE ABOUT THE WRITERS AND CHARACTERS IN THE BIBLE? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES:

WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF ROMANS?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOSHUA?
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF JOB?

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This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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