I almost never read the terms and service agreements, especially when it comes to electronic upgrades. I am so quick to just scroll all the way to the bottom, igorning all the content, and simply clicking “agree.” When I do this, I skip over a lot of stuff that is potentially important information.
If we are honest with ourselves, we do this with Scripture sometimes. Perhaps we have a favorite verse and remove that passage from its larger story. Let me go ahead and say, it’s okay to have a favorite verse. Verses resonate with us during different seasons and circumstances. But, it’s important to know where those verses come from. When we see them in their larger context, they often have a fuller meaning.
This Sunday, we discussed Jeremiah 29:11, an extremely popular verse that reminds us that God has a plan for our lives. And it’s not just any plan, but one with propensity! But when we view it in its full context, Jeremiah is not necessarily talking to the us, but to the Israelites. You see, the Israelites have disobeyed God for a long time. At the time in which Jeremiah takes place, the Israelites are about to embark on 70 years of Babylonian exile.
But in Jeremiah 29, something powerful happens in the words of God. God informs Israel that he will not abandon them. Yes, they will face trials and challenges, but they serve a faithful God that will be with them through this season. He has not forgotten them; rather, God has plans for them (which is where Jeremiah 29:11 comes in) and a future for them.
On its own, Jeremiah 29:11 has tones of individualism and success; however, its full context it is a powerful reminder that God will be with all of us and provide for all of us regardless of the season we find ourselves in.