This is the audio (32:05, 29.3MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 28 entitled, “A Future and a Hope?” The text is Jeremiah 29:1-14. Dedicated readers of THTW know that I Love Ruining Bible Verses; this sermon fleshes out some ideas in that post.
Here is an excerpt:
The danger in taking the promises in verse 11 out of context and applying them directly to our lives is that we can so easily replace God’s plans, God’s future, and God’s hope with our plans, our future, and our hope. God is the sovereign Lord of all his creation, including me. He doesn’t have to conform his plans for my life to my plans for my life; he can use me however he chooses. Even when he makes promises to his people because of the special covenant relationship he has with them, he doesn’t always fulfill them as we would want them fulfilled. I’m sure that the exiles in Babylon would not have chosen seventy years, if it had been up to them.
And yet, when we accept God’s plans for our future, we can see that they are infinitely better than our own plans. Yes, God brought Israel back from exile—but things were never as glorious for them as they had hoped. In fact, the spiritual state of exile continues on for hundreds of years–interestingly, in the book of Daniel chapter 9, Daniel is praying based on this Jeremiah passage, and an angel tells him that the exile is not 70 years, but 70 times 7 years! But when the fullness of time had come, Paul says in Galatians, God came to them directly, in the person of Jesus Christ, to rescue his people from their spiritual exile and bondage to sin. That promise of rescue from exile, and a future hope of resurrection from the dead, is offered to all who confess their sin and throw all their hope and trust in Jesus.
Audio and text: ©2015 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.
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A humorous take on these verses: