Jeremiah 29:11 is about God, not you…the Effort to Convert a Verse by Baptizing it in Consumerism

Jer2911I am convinced that one of the main reasons Jeremiah 29:11 gets so much press and is stamped on such much Christian merchandise is because we think the verse is about us. Well, it isn’t.

 

First, it was about the Jews in exile. Notice the context,

10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

In its original context this promise was to exiled Israel. The plans God has for them is to bring them home. That is the hope…not getting a job, not choosing the right major…exiled Israel returning home from Babylonian captivity.

 

Second, even if you attempt to make contemporary application don’t miss the point of the text…this is still not about you. This is about what God is doing. This is about us seeking God and God doing what God needs to do. When Peter found out the plans God had for him in John 21 it involved crucifixion. So please don’t try to convert this text by baptizing it in the name of the consumer, the Christian store and the holy bookmark. Let it speak for itself and let us trust God to deliver us as He sees fit.

 

So put down the embroidery machine and seek God.

7 Responses to Jeremiah 29:11 is about God, not you…the Effort to Convert a Verse by Baptizing it in Consumerism

  1. I can quote all verses out of context, through Christ who strengthens me.

  2. Great post, Matt. It’s very easy to see when you bring the context to light. I haven’t studied Jeremiah in some time, so all I have ever really gotten from this verse prior to your post is what the popular interpretation offers. Thanks for shedding positive light on this.

  3. Jerel Kratt says:

    Great post Matt, totally agree. The hard part is being consistent with all the other promises not made to us, including some of those made to the first century Christians.

  4. Richard says:

    Are you saying that those who take the verse out of context are all wet?

    • Matt Dabbs says:

      It is possible to take a verse out of context and get it right. I just don’t think it is as likely. I think it points to our value of individualism and freedom to take the scriptures and ignore the context to force them into a procrustean bed that points in our favor.

      I just posted a follow up post that clarifies my thoughts a bit more.

  5. Ken says:

    I’m concerned that you’re saying that because Jeremiah was speaking to his contemporaries about their immediate future that the implications stop there. Totally agree that he was speaking to them about what they should do for the next 70 years, yet I also believe that there is a principle here that God is interested in our lives and our well being (Ps 1387-.8 comes to mind).
    The church, on the other hand, is way too preoccupied with consumerism, as is the rest of the western world.

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