The words of Jeremiah 29:11 have become so well-known that you can probably quote most of it, if not all of it. It is a popular verse, I’m sure, because of its encouragement and comforting promise from God.
You may know it best from the NIV version which says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you (NASB says, “plans for welfare and not for calamity”), plans to give you hope and a future.”
Do you have the Amplified Bible? It’s a wonderful version for giving you a vivid word picture of the original meaning of a passage. It says, “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”
Finally, look at the KJV, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
I want to focus on a few key phrases that are very exciting.
Notice the first few words, “For I know… ” Think about what the Lord is saying here. He knows. He knows your circumstances, and He knows you!
“… the thoughts and plans I have for you…” He has thoughts about you. Almighty God thinks about you. He has plans for you and He knows what they are! You don’t have to know them all yet.
They are plans to prosper you. The definition of prosper in my 1828 dictionary sheds an interesting light on the word. It did mention “to be successful” and “to succeed,” the usual definitions we think of associated with the word prosper. I love the fact that this old dictionary uses a lot of Scripture as a way of making the meaning of a word more clear. It quoted a verse from Genesis 39, “The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand (speaking of Joseph).” Another example shown is from Proverbs 28, “He that covereth his sins, shall not prosper.”
There is nothing wrong with prospering by being successful. God loves to prosper His children with riches, land, and houses when He so chooses, for His purposes. But our thinking is flawed if that is the only way in which we think of prospering.
The word prosper comes from a word which means “to carry to” or “toward.” Knowing that, already causes you to think about it a little differently, doesn’t it? Add these definitions and you’ll really have something to think about: to grow or increase; to thrive; favored; advancing in wealth, growth, or any good!
So ask yourself these questions: Am I or is my family growing or increasing in any area? Am I thriving in any way? Have I been favored? (Being favored is being supported; aided; supplied with advantages; eased; spared; regarded with kindness.) Am I advancing in growth, wealth, or in any good thing? I’m feeling more prosperous already and I hope you are, too. God’s Word brings such joy!
Now, let’s look at the rest of Jeremiah 29:11. Besides prospering us, God’s plans for us include welfare (which means “a good going”), peace, not calamity nor evil.
This last part is what I really want you to see today. His thoughts and plans for us are to give us hope in the final outcome of our situation. I’ll take hope, won’t you? He planned it for us. He IS our hope.
I love what the KJV says at the very end of this verse. He plans to give our circumstances “an expected end.” Don’t miss this! An expected end. See, He knows what to expect even if you don’t. He knows how this will end. He is never caught off-guard. He’s never left wringing his hands, fretting about how He’s going to handle what just happened. He expected it, and not only that, He has an expected end for it.
Who expects it? You? Me? Maybe, but more often than not, no. Sometimes the way our situation ends is the last thing we expected. That’s where trust comes in. That’s when our faith has to show up. Remember, His plans are to give us hope in our final outcome.
It’s not for you or me to expect a certain ending to our “this.” This moment, this set of circumstances that you didn’t see coming, this thing that has your head spinning and your life turning upside down, this situation that’s left your heart broken and you gasping for breath…
Whatever your “this” is you can rest assured, my sweet friend, He’s got it. And because He does, you’ve got hope!
Prayers and Blessings to you,