This week I just finished up reading the book of Jeremiah. Overall I liked it but it was so depressing! But I kept on knowing that as in each book, God has given this book to us to learn from it and to reveal Himself to us through it.
This is the first time I have ever read the prophets so it is very new to me but it deepens the rest of history so much. It adds another layer to the historical books of the bible like first and second Kings. I first started realizing this when I read the book of Ezra and Nehemiah last year. To learn that Cyrus was named years before he was ever to proclaim the rebuilding of the temple and that Jeremiah declares Nebuchadnezzar by name and even dares to count the years of the captivity. The overwhelming proof that Jeremiah was a true prophet of the Lord is astonishing yet because of the bad news he brought to the Israelites, because of their own iniquities, they sought to kill him!
Mostly I have loved to place the verses that I have always treasured into context. Many people love Jeremiah 29, but to learn why and more importantly when God gives the people this promise is so encouraging and comforting…
For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord…
These wonderful verses are not given to the people on a happy day but rather this was given to the people through Jeremiah while they had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. To place these verses into this context changed the way I looked upon it. To apply it to my own life, when I am feeling as though a ‘captive’ of this world, I think of this promise and know that no matter the trial or temptation that I am enduring, God has a future for me, a future of hope. And when I pray to Him he is listening to me. And when I seek Him out, He will be found. No matter what trial we are enduring, it is but a small matter in the grand scheme of our lives. And when we are able to look back upon those moments in our lives, we can see God’s hand upon each situation. He was there through every tear and every heartbreak. We are not alone in this world, there is a plan greater than ourselves.
Just as the captives had to wait seventy years, we also have to wait. Patience does not come easily for me. But it is always rewarding. God is building our endurance up. Each trial is important in building our character so that we can better endure the next and give hope to those who follow.