For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 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 29:10-11 NKJV
Jeremiah 29:11 is very commonly quoted scriptures. Searching the internet for images of this scripture brings up many fancy and beautifully made images of it. It is a wonderful verse of hope and promise. Often this verse is looked at without the context of the passage around it. In and of itself, it’s a good verse, but by adding in the context of what’s happening around it, we find this promise to be extra special in the context of troubled times.
This verse is given to the Israelites after the Babylonians had come in and taken their people captive. They were in exile in a foreign land and they were looking for hope that they would be able to come back home. Jeremiah receives this message from the Lord and it’s a message of peace to the people who have just had their entire lives upturned and uprooted (Jeremiah 29:4)
In the first part of the chapter, we hear God telling His people to settle into the land of Babylon. They are not to fight or rise up or listen to people who encourage anything other than this (v. 5-9). God also says in verse 4 that this exile has been allowed by God.
The comfort from this passage is this: no matter where you are or how hopeless your circumstances seem, God has not forsaken you. He knows where you are and how you got there and what’s going to happen to you tomorrow. God is always bigger than our circumstances and He is working for our good and His eternal plan.
Verse 10 begins God promise to Israel: your captivity will end, I know the day and I will keep my Word that you will come home. But it also contains an unpleasant truth, this captivity will last 70 years.
The hope we can glean from this is knowing that God knows the exact passage out that we need. He knows when to bring it and He will, because He is good. We can trust Him and live in peace knowing that He’s the ultimate authority in our lives.
Now, we come to the verse of promise. Verse 11, “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.” This promise is even sweeter when we know that it’s God reminding a lost and hurting people that they won’t be lost forever. God is working toward the good of all of his people, not simply the people in one time or in one place. His plan for a future and a hope is good and trustworthy. No matter what we feel like or see around us, we can rely on that.
What’s your captivity right now? What’s your struggle that feels like it’s overwhelming you? God has an appointed time for you to step into His blessing. Lean on His word and live in peace while His plans come to a beautiful conclusion.