I just Googled Jeremiah 29:11, and the first autocomplete search suggestion is, “Jeremiah 29:11 tattoo.” Apparently, most of the people rummaging the Internet for this Scripture are looking to learn more about making it a permanent part of their epidermis. Before you Google epidermis, it means your outer layer of skin. Speaking of meanings, “Jeremiah 29:11 meaning,” is the second autocomplete search suggestion I see. I’m glad people want to know what it means, but maybe we should find out prior to making it a part of our forearm forever.
“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. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
When trying to understand Scripture, Google the reference combined with the words, “tattoo pics.” Seriously though, we should look for context like the author, history, audience, and geography. Next, we should interpret Scripture with more Scripture. Finally, we should put it into action in our lives. With this method, let’s check out the plans God has for Jeremiah 29:11.
God was talking through His prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish people who, after years of rebellion against God, were in captivity as exiles in Babylon. Read through Jeremiah 29:1-10 and we discover God was preparing His people to be there a while—70 years, to be exact.
Just reading verses 1-10 shakes my perspective of this famous line of ink. Was Jeremiah writing to me? Where does the persecution and trial of the previous verses come into play? When it says “plans to give you hope and a future,” does that mean I get the job I’m hoping for? What about the baby in Burkina Faso whose life could have been spared by a $3 mosquito net? Is Jeremiah 29:11 written to him? If so, how could God’s plans for me seem so much better? See how important it is apply Scripture correctly?
Let’s look for more biblical truth to go with the context we’ve discovered. We can read in 2 Timothy 3:12 how everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted. We can turn to John 15:20 to discover we signed up for a fight, just like our master, Jesus. A chapter later, in John 16:33, we’re encouraged to take heart, despite trouble, because Jesus already won.
We looked at context surrounding Jeremiah 29:11, we looked throughout the Bible to uncover truth about its themes, now let’s make five real-life applications.
- We exist for God—He doesn’t exist for us. He does have plans for us, hope-filled ones, but that doesn’t mean we won’t face great difficulty to serve His purposes.
- Sometimes it takes a lifetime. First of all, this Scripture was first written to exiles who were told it would be another 70 years of captivity. Sometimes we have to wait an entire lifetime for a promise of blessing to be fulfilled. Second of all, a wise Christ-follower knows the eternal hope before us isn’t contingent on this world. We build our hope on the promises spoken of in Hebrews 13:14. We understand there’s more to life—than this life.
- Rebellion against God has consequences. However, He can still redeem us to a future that prospers His kingdom.
- Still want a tattoo? Now it has more meaning. Also, you might consider John 16:33—in red letters—because no matter what you face, even death, Jesus already won!
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