BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:10,11
It seems the Lord’s patience with His people led to a belief that the worst that could happen would not happen or could be avoided. Faithful prophets spoke the truth about the future of God’s people, false prophets uttered lies and gave misleading messages.
At first the false prophets denied the Lord would bring captivity to His people, then they began to tell the people it would be for only two years. They found it easier to tell the people what they wanted to hear, than to confront them with what was hard to accept.
While we observe the Lord’s patience and longsuffering with His people, we observe His judgment on the false prophets who would speak lies and deceive His people in His name.
The Lord had a plan and purpose that He was accomplishing in the hearts of His people. The people didn’t understand, but the Lord assured them “I know the plans…” While the present would be difficult and painful the end result would be for their welfare. The Lord wanted them to know that with Him they had a future, they had hope.
The Lord not only communicated the “what” but also the “when.” “At the end of 70 years….” Restoration would come, but it would be in God’s timing and in God’s way. As the Babylonian era came to an end Daniel was reflecting and praying about all that was happening, “I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Daniel 9:2 ESV)
God’s plan for His people’s welfare was to be accepted with their cooperation. The Lord’s message to those in Babylon was,“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce…But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:5,7 ESV)
God’s plan for His people’s welfare would come as they prayed and sought Him. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:12-14 ESV)
This is exactly what we see happening with Daniel. As Daniel understood the end of the time Jeremiah prophesied was coming to a close, this is how he responded, “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession…” (Daniel 9:3,4 ESV)
As Daniel sought the Lord on behalf of God’s people, the Lord moved on the King’s heart and the return to Jerusalem and rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of the city began to take place. God’s people had hope and they had a future, just as the Lord planned.
Prayer for today….. Lord help us to embrace Your plan, even when the circumstances in which we find ourselves are not what we desire. Allow us to see that You are working for our good and that nothing takes You by surprise. Help us to embrace Your future for our lives through obedience, trust and seeking You.