2012-08-17 - Thinking Through Life
Originally Published 2006-01-18
Jer 29:11-14 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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." (NIV)
This is an amazing text. These words are part of a letter from Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon. The readers are exiles from Israel, sent away by God to punish the rebellious nation. But the punishment had a design. It was corrective. And now the heart of God speaks to His people again. With stunning clarity, the Lord reminds Israel of His favor toward them. If the punishment were simply punitive, the nation could have been forgotten, or even destroyed. But they are being prepared to come home.
Even in this rebellion, God clearly loved them. As true as this is of the nation of Israel, it is a reflection of the character of God toward humanity.
Paul paints a picture of each of us in the slave market of sin. He explains that we were purchased out of that market by the Lord. We had no way to earn money to buy our freedom. We were forever trapped. In our utter helplessness, Jesus came and bought our freedom with His death and resurrection. He could have left us. We would have died in that market and the world would have kept on turning. But He loved us, and paid the terrible price for our redemption. He has scattered those of us who believe among the nations to show and tell the world of the love of God for a fallen world.
If you want to read about the plans God has for us, read the last few chapters of the Revelation. A city with walls 1500 miles on a side filled with gems, and streets paved with gold so pure that it is transparent. There will be twelve gates into the city each made from a single enormous pearl. Twelve foundation stones for the city, each of a different colored stone. A river of living water flows from the throne of the Lord in the center of the city. What a place, and Jesus will be there teaching us. We will have the chance to sit at His feet and learn like Mary did.
What a day that will be.
Grace & Peace,