Plans to Prosper?

February 5, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Misquoted

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Jeremiah 29:4–12

According to Bible Gateway, the most popular verse in 2018 was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” followed closely by John 3:16, and Philippians 4:13. The idea that God has a perfect plan for you that will prosper and not harm you is a sentiment that is worthy of embracing and hoping for. But reading this verse out of context can cause more harm than good.

This verse is not written to individuals at all. This passage is written to a whole group of people—an entire nation. This verse should not be interpreted as a promise to any individual. This verse is NOT talking about what God can and is going to do for ME. In this passage God does not promise an immediate end to current suffering, but a lengthy time (70 years to be exact), that the people are actually told by God to make the best of a bad situation. It’s a promise that God is still in control even when things are bleak. It’s a promise that even though things might not make sense to them now, God’s plan is still good. This verse is giving hope to a group of people that are struggling with understanding what God is doing.

  1. The Context (v.4-7)
  2. The Meaning (v.8-10)
  3. The Conclusion (v.11-14)

Getting Started

1. According to Bible Gateway, the most popular verse in 2018 was Jeremiah 29:11. Which is your favourite verse and why? Read Jeremiah 29:4-12

2. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

3. Jeremiah 29 is addressed to the exiles in Babylon. What were some ways God was going to punish Judah for her sins? (See Jeremiah 25:8–14)

4. Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet,” and for good reason. Jeremiah’s message is heart-breaking. What is his message to the Jews who remained in Jerusalem and Judah? (See Jeremiah 29:15-20)

5. There came a day when the Lord called a halt to the mourning over Judah, and Jeremiah the weeping prophet delivered a message of hope. What was that message? (See Jeremiah 31:16-17)

The Heart of the Matter

6. Jeremiah 29v11, does not apply to isolated individuals but to a broader church community. What are some practical ways we are to encourage each other while we wait for the Lord’s return?

7. Why is it true that by putting your hope in any individual or material thing in this world you are fighting a losing battle? What scripture will you use to help convince a non-believer of this?

8. In the “shadows of disappointment and darkness,” many of us may feel as though we’ve hit rock bottom. What is the good news we need to preach to ourselves and others when the world around us seems to be crushing in?

More in Misquoted

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The Poverty that Made us Rich.

January 29, 2023

Where Two or Three are Gathered.

January 22, 2023

Biblical Baptism