11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
4 The word of the Lord came to me:
5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
6 But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
7 Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you.
8 Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you. This is the Lord’s declaration.
Jeremiah is another prophet who wrote down the events, visions, and circumstances that God placed him in to show us how God worked in the life of Israel, to bring them back to Him, and to bring the Savior to the entire world. These are hard times for the children of Israel that were brought on by their constant disobedience. But there is hope, even in the discipline. We can see that picture in Jeremiah and know that it is also true for us even if we are in a time of dealing with the consequences of our sins.
This is the beginning of the book of Jeremiah, written by the prophet Jeremiah. This first chapter is dedicated to how God had called Jeremiah to be a prophet. Take a look at the calling. The Lord says, “I chose you…I set you apart…I appointed you…” These are all so special. He was chosen by God to do these things. It was God looking at the life of Jeremiah and saying, I can use you to do wonderful things, just trust me. We get to see how real the Bible is through the response of Jeremiah. He looks at God and says, are you talking to me? I can’t do this! I’m just a youth. It sounds like something we would all say to God. God, you want me to do what? I can’t because _________. You fill in the blank. We all have our excuses. But look at God's answer. He says, “Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you. This is the Lord’s declaration.” In other words, I’ve got it all laid out Jeremiah, I have the plan in place, you just need to trust me.
Where are you at with this? God has done the same for us. We are not all called to be prophets like Jeremiah, but He has called us to share His message with the world. God is saying the same thing to us. “Do not say, ‘I am ________,’ I can conquer your every excuse. I can use you in spite of your excuses.” God is more powerful than even the greatest excuse. He can use us to do great and amazing things and He will if we submit to Him and His will for our life. Have you done that? What do you need to let go of so God can use you?
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand, touched my mouth, and told me:
I have now filled your mouth with my words.
God had just defeated Jeremiah's excuse. He had just said he was too young and couldn’t speak. So God defeated that by saying, “This is how I’m going to use you.” But God didn’t stop there. He went a step further with Jeremiah. He reached out His hand and touched Jeremiah's lips and filled them with His words. This is comforting to Jeremiah. God's words are now the ones that He will speak. It’s not about Jeremiah, it’s about God so God gives him the words.
This is the same way God gives us the power to accomplish His will through the power of the Holy Spirit through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Philippians 4:13 says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It is through the strength of Jesus Christ that we accomplish God's will for our lives. It’s not our strength at all. If it were, we would fail every time. We have to learn, just like Jeremiah that it is God’s job to complete the work, it’s our job to be the tool in His hand.
God has given us His word in the Bible. We don’t need to have all the answers to the world's problems because God has already given them to us. We just need to know His word. This is why it is important for us to know His word. When we know it, He can move our hearts towards those verses to help in any situation. We get our wisdom from His word and we allow His word to do that talking, not ours. I’m sure we all feel like our words are never enough. When something happens we just don’t have the words but God does. Take some time today to study our memory verse. To look at the scriptures in these devotions and think through them. When we do that God is able to remind us of the things we studied to then be able to apply them to our everyday situations.
10 See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.
Jeremiah had a hard job ahead of him. God told him that he would be appointed to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and to plant. He had the job of taking down the old and building the new. It is this path that would eventually turn Israel back to God and make the pathway for Jesus to come to earth. This is a huge task but with God, Jeremiah would do it.
Jeremiah would have to go around all tell Israel that they would be taken into captivity, that Jerusalem would be destroyed. He would then follow that up with the promise that God wouldn’t forget His promises to Israel and that the whole world would be saved through the lineage of David. In hindsight, this is an awesome message but at the moment it’s hard to think positive when the part you are going to experience is the bad part. I’m sure the people are like, “Thanks for the hope, Jeremiah. You’re telling me that I will be captured, my house will be destroyed and I will be a slave but have hope, My grandchildren will get to go rebuild Jerusalem one day so that the whole world can be saved. Oh and God still loves me and will keep His promises.” I know that would at least cross my mind. It was definitely a difficult Job.
We have a difficult job before us as well. Each of us is called to reach our friends and families with the Gospel. We are called to be a witness for Jesus and to live a life that brings honor and glory to God in everything we do. This is difficult but with Jesus, we can do it and do it well. If things seem too difficult, lean on the Holy Spirit for help. Take the time to list out all your difficulties and worries through prayer. Lay them out word for word at the feet of Jesus. Seek His truth in His word and then take that step in faith and watch the Holy Spirit work through you. It will change your mind from “I can’t” to “He will.” Let’s take the time today to layout those difficulties and burdens. Ask Him today to guide you in His will and to strengthen you to do His will for your life.
23 “‘This is what the Lord says:
The wise person should not boast in his wisdom;
the strong should not boast in his strength;
the wealthy should not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this:
that he understands and knows me—
that I am the Lord, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Everything that Israel has known for the past few generations is about to change. Jeremiah has been warning them of the coming judgment that includes Jerusalem being destroyed and the people of Israel being held captive. Israel has been dependent on themselves and they have ignored God and what He has called them to do. This has caused them to find confidence in their security and alliances. In today’s verses, Jeremiah is showing them how their confidence has been placed in a faulty area. He talks about how they should not boast in their wisdom, their strength, or their wealth. None of these things matter when it really comes down to it. It wasn’t but 300 years earlier than Solomon had shown them how all of that stuff is vanity or worthless. In that amount of time, Israel had completely turned away from God and His teachings. Jeremiah tells Israel what or who they should boast in. The answer is God. Boast in His love, justice, and righteousness. In other words: Israel changes your focus.
When you focus on your wisdom, one day it won’t have the answer. When you focus on your strength, one day it will fail. When you focus on your wealth, one day it will run out. None of this will last forever. It is all temporary or lacking. God is not. This is what Jeremiah is trying to show them. God is the only one that will remain true, loving, faithful, strong, and wise throughout all of eternity. He is the one Israel should boast in.
What do you boast in? What do you put your confidence in? Maybe it’s your parents. You know, no matter what happens, dad or mom will be there to help and will have the right answer, the money needed or the strength. Maybe it’s your group of friends. You know they will always have your back. No matter who or what it is, if it’s not God, it is temporary and lacking. How can you adjust your thinking and put your confidence in God? The answer is in getting to know Him better through His word. You can’t trust God like you should if you don’t know Him. You can lean on His wisdom if you don’t know it. Start today boasting and having confidence in God. Learn about Him so you can trust and lean on Him.
9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else,
and incurable—who can understand it?
Jeremiah is telling Israel the reason for the coming judgment of God. In the earlier verses, he is describing their persistent sin against God and then turns to how living against God leads to cursing, and living for God leads to blessings. He is trying to show them that this judgment has come down on them because they have constantly chosen to go against God. Oh, how Israel has turned their back on God. Jeremiah even describes to God in verse 15 of this same chapter, how Israel is challenging or even mocking him. They say of Jeremiah, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” This is like they don’t believe what Jeremiah is saying or they don’t care what God has to say.
Jeremiah hits the nail on the head in verse 9. The problem with Israel is their heart. He says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable — who can understand it? Israel was doing what they wanted and acting how they wanted. Their heart was deceitful and wicked. It was turned away from God and leading them down a path of destruction.
This is true for each of us. Apart from God, this is our heart. It is deceitful, always seeking what it wants for itself no matter who it might hurt or what rule it might break. It is wicked, thinking about destroying, belittling, and ruling over those that are around us. Only God can fix this issue with a heart transplant. So the question is, does God have your heart? If He does verses as 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 will describe you. If He doesn’t, verses like today's verse will describe you. So where do you fit? Let God give you His heart. You will love well, live well, and serve well if He does. Check your heart today and give over every piece of it to God and ask Him to give you His heart for this world. It will change how you view and think of everyone around you.
10 For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”
The message of hope has arrived for the children of Israel. Captivity and sorrow will come, but there is hope. God will bring Israel through the problems and difficulties they have put themselves through. Jeremiah gives them this prophecy of hope. After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, they will be restored back to Jerusalem. This is an incredible prophecy but it really shows the sovereignty or the planning and control of God. He says in verse 11, “I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” If Jeremiah could choose one thing to drill into the head of Israel, it is this. Israel, God’s plan for you goes until the end of time and into eternity, just follow Him. Israel is mentioned from Genesis all the way to Revelation. They are at the beginning of the book of Genesis and they will be at the end of the book of Revelation. I know the plans I have for you Israel!! God is saying, “You’re a great part of my redemption plan for all the earth.” Salvation through Jesus comes from Israel, the final battles of the earth happen in Israel, the people of Israel are used in the final days to spread the Gospel to the world so that the world will know Jesus as their savior. “I know the plans I have for you Israel! Plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Oh that Israel would know this and hold on to it.
This is also true for us. This exact verse is not meant for us but the principle of God wanting to do great and amazing things, in and through us are all throughout scripture. God has a plan for each of us. If we are willing to be used by Him we will be an amazing tool in the hand of God. We need to know and hold on to this. When we give ourselves over to God, He is saying the same thing to us. “I know the plans I have for you, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Our future is found in eternity with Him if we know Him as savior. Trust Him today and know and hold on to His promises!
31 On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. 34 As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, for the rest of his life.
This is a great way of finishing up the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah has been making all of these prophecies from God and showing Israel all of Gods promises for this future hope. I know it’s got to be hard for Israel to look past the moment they are in and see the hope that is to come, but Jeremiah blatantly shows the beginning of this hope at the end of his book. At this point, Jerusalem has fallen and Israel is in captivity. The promise of things to come included a savior who would one day come from the line of David. This means David's kingly line has to be maintained. But how would this be possible when they are captured. No one captures a country and allows the king and his lineage to live, right?
That’s exactly what happened here. Because God is in control and His promises are true, the kingly line of David was not destroyed. In today's verses, you see that the King of Babylon looks at his captives and chose King Jehoiachin to be pardoned and therefore, he set free the lineage of David. This is the beginning of the future hope God had promised Israel. God is in complete control. The hope of Israel is already set back on the right track.
This is a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us. His death on the cross is what set us free. We were pardoned from our sins, but not just pardoned, look at what happened to Jehoiachin. He changed out of his prison clothes! He was no longer identified as a prisoner. We are no longer identified as a sinner because of Jesus. He was raised back to the status of king. We are raised back to the status of a child of the one true King. We are sons and daughters of God. Jehoiachin was given a seat at the table of the king to dine for the rest of his life. We are given a seat at the table of God to dine for all eternity because we are in the family of God. This is amazing. Jesus did all of this for us. Have you allowed Him into your heart as Savior and accepted this gift that he has given or are you still sitting in your prison clothes even though you have been set free?
God's plan is in action and it includes each of us. Let’s change out of those prison clothes and sit at the table of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords all the days of our lives. Let’s be ready to be a part of whatever God is doing in this life.