Jeremiah 29:11 - One of the Most Misused, Misunderstood Verses in Scripture

God Doesn't Promise smooth sailing, Jeremiah 29:11
Jeremiah 29:11 is a message of hope in the midst of difficulty, not a promise to free us from all difficulty...

I stenciled it on the wall of my husband's office when he was working in the career planning and placement department at Columbia International University. 

"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."  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. 
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We thought it was fitting for Bible college and seminary graduates looking for jobs, and it was. But not in the way many people understand.

It's one of those phrases we Christians use like pieces parts without exploring the true meaning.

Jeremiah 29 is a message to the Jewish exiles in Babylon telling them to make the best of their captivity because God has a plan in allowing it. That captivity lasted 70 years, and many never lived to see it end.

God's plans for us are always good, but they are not necessarily easy, nor are they the plans we'd choose in our limited human thinking.

Are your circumstances less than desirable? Make the best of them. Whether you see the results in your lifetime or not, God has a good plan for your life (Romans 8:28). You can write that on the wall of your heart!

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  1. This verse is often quoted--it is good to understand the context. I was glad that our women's Bible study took a year to study Isaiah. God always has the big picture and we need to trust Him!

  2. Loved it! Thanks for sharing! May GOD bless!

  3. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. To me, regardless of its timeline fulfillment, it's a verse that gives me hope and reminds me that God is always there for me in a world that you can not depend on. This scripture tells me despite my present situation, God has a better plan for me and as long as I am relying on Him to change my circumstances, I will be okay because Joy will come in the morning, that is in God's time and I'm willing to wait on Him. This is something God has promised His believers, He's not a liar or changes His mind. I believe that being grateful and acknowledging that His plans for us are being filled throughout a lifetime; otherwise, what would be the point because He has already given us the greatest gift, His Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, anything after that is beyond my expectation. But that's my faith in how I see God full filing His promises to us. May God continue to bless us all and our families.

    1. Hi Paulette,
      You've understood the verse very well. I agree with your description. And I also believe it is a comforting verse similar to Romans 8:28.

      The intent and purpose of the verse was to give God's people comfort that He had good plans for their lives spiritually despite their present difficult circumstances in captivity.

      Unfortunately, many people quote the verse as a promise that their circumstances will be good or easy or always things they enjoy and that isn't the intent of this verse.

      Thanks for sharing your insights.

  4. he told them to marry be fruitful and blessed in the midst. the verse displays his heart. does it matter where you die if you are blessed in the midst with your Lords blessing and his people.

    1. Hi Angela,
      You're right. The intent of this verse is to tell us that God cares about us no matter the conditions of our lives, and He has good plans for our lives spiritually even if we never live where we want, have the jobs we want, or are treated well by everyone.

      Unfortunately, many people use this verse to claim that God will do just that - give them the home, job, and situations that they want in life.

      So in that regard it matters very much that we understand the context and the promise.

      I hope that helps clarify.
      Your question is a good one.

  5. Thanks Gail this verse is a hmm cringe verse for my son. He would totally agree with you. I will share with him. (He's a teacher and preacher) And thank you ladies for your comments they too are encouraging. Amoung the photos I have on my bathroom mirror is this one. "If God doesn't open the door worship Him in the hallway" Philippians 4: 11-13 ��

  6. Thank you! I needed that perspective!


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