Over the last couple of weeks, we looked at how the Israelites refused to trust and obey God’s word to them. We looked at the journey of Israel coming out of Egypt, which seemed to be more about God’s compassion than Israel’s obedience. We saw how they would rather return to a life of slavery / death than obey God. This rebellion came at great cost with over 600,000 dying in the desert. Yet, they would eventually take the land just as God had promised, but even in the land of promise, they refused to obey God’s word and were removed even though they were warned Deuteronomy 6: 12 “to be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” A couple of weeks ago we looked at some of those who survived after Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. After an assassination of the man that was placed in charge, this group headed for Egypt. On the way they asked Jeremiah to find out from God what they should do and where they should go. Jeremiah 42:5 “They said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. 6 Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.” But the answer from God was unfavorable to them. God told them to stay in the land and not go to Egypt. They responded to Jeremiah by calling him a liar. They said, Jeremiah 44:16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would.” God had said 14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.” Even though Jeremiah was known to be God’s messenger and everything he said had come true, they refused to trust that his words were from God and rebelled against God.
Nothing has changed as the church continues to do as Israel did. The church has been decimated by the abomination that causes desolation because of its rebellion against God’s word. The church does not honor God with trust. Numbers 20:12 “the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” When we trust God, we obey His word, we do not change it so that it is more palatable to our liking. Sadly, the church continues to show this lack of trust by continuing to follow their own ways and operate in their own strength. Churches with no spiritual power whatsoever, but who operate like a Fortune 500 company, are emulated as if they have been chosen by God to show us the way, a way God must have forgotten to show us in His word. By following these gurus, the church says to God we would much rather follow these men and women back to Egypt and be powerless against our enemies. The church just like Israel says we will not listen and continue to do as we please. Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’” As we saw with Israel, rebellion against God never ends well.
Trust means “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” When we trust man over God, we are saying that God does not have the ability or strength to do as He said He would do. Psalm 78:17 “But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. 18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. 19 They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? 20 True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?” 21 When the Lord heard them, he was furious; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, 22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.” When Israel was about to take the promised land, they said God was no match for their enemies and rebelled against God. As we saw with King Hezekiah, the enemy does not want you to trust God. 2 Kings 18:30 “Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” The enemy even tried to deceive the people by saying, “31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” Death is the result of listening to satan as Adam and Eve found out. Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve knew what God said, but refused to obey and listened to satan. To this day satan continues to say, “Did God really say?” And to this day the church continues to listen. The church sings “Blessed Assurance” but really doesn’t have the assurance to trust and obey.
For most, going to church is their Christianity and for the most part they do not know what they believe. People call themselves Christians all the time but there is no anointing because God has turned His face from the church because of rebellion. People should just call themselves Ian! You hear it all the time, especially in politics where people call themselves Christians but obviously have no idea what it really means to be a Christian and have no idea that what they think is Christianity. This is a deception by satan. Speaking of politics, politics gives us a good picture of the church today. Today we see people who have been deceived and deluded just like the church. We are told 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Antichrists are everywhere and millions have been deceived. Probably the best example of antichrist is Donald Trump and those who follow him. He is the farthest from being a Christian, yet people think he is their savior, sent by God. God is using him but not how they think. Yes, he held a bible, surrounded himself with those in the church looking to elevate themselves and is believed to be a savior and now a martyr sent by God to save the United States and quite possibly the world or so they believe. One writer said, “Comparisons likening Trump to Christ were among the top online narratives about the Republican former president and his criminal charges circulating.” The problem is that Jesus was Jesus, sinless and perfect and Trump is a twice impeached, convicted sexual abuser, power hungry pathological liar and a malignant narcissist. A judge ruled Trump has committed fraud and his list of criminal cases (4 indictments) continues to grow with more convictions to follow. This is a man that any Christian should have nothing to do with.
There is a great divide in politics with one side being liberal and the other conservative. Politics is not good versus evil; the church is supposed to be the good against evil. The problem is that both sides are so far off, one is not better than the other. The world is not the church, so the church needs to be able to offer the path that is straight and narrow (narrow does not mean legalistic). The church needs to be able to offer life, freedom, hope, truth and healing in the midst of chaos, not be part of it. The church was never called to be like the world. Israel was even worse than those around them. Ezekiel 5:5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6 Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees. 7 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you.” 2 Chronicles 33:9 “Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” The church has done the same. The church was not supposed to be like the world but change it. James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Jesus said, John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Unfortunately the church has rejected Gods’ word in order to reach the world for Him. In an effort to be relevant by becoming like the world, the church has become irrelevant and powerless to change the world. The world is not changed by the church trying to be like the world. 2 Peter 2:18 “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity.” The bible is relevant for today and does not need to be changed, just trusted and obeyed.
Instead of trusting God and obeying His word, the church decided to go their own way and now even worse than Israel have paid with the lives of millions. For many who call themselves Christians, God really isn’t the one they trust as they trust and follow men and women over God. Even though the church looks nothing like scripture, people continue because their appetites have been appeased by these men and women and refuse to repent. They think I go to church therefore I am a Christian. Jeremiah 7:3 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” Because of deception and delusion, most are serving the Jesus of another gospel which is not the Jesus of the gospel. You need to know the difference. This knowledge comes by turning from your wicked ways and returning to God’s word. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Sadly, many do not know their ways are wicked because they are totally committed to the church of their desire. Many have sold their souls to their teaching and have no idea they have been deceived. When most hear the true gospel and the power that comes with it, they think, only because they do not know scripture, that the words they are hearing are of satan. That is what they, even Jesus’ own family did. Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!” Matthew 12:24 “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Mark 3:21 “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Many have turned away from the true gospel because it isn’t what they thought it to be or want it to be especially those who want to be like the world, not change it. Most like the teaching of other gospels because true repentance, true discipleship, submission and total commitment has been set aside and it is not so confrontational. Yes, they want you to be a totally committed disciple of their teaching but that is not what God is looking for. The God of love is only taught, and God’s wrath has been left out. They only discipline if you go against their teaching. God’s word has been changed so that it lines up more with the world view, even to the point of denying a six-day creation which is crazy because God didn’t even need six days, it could have all happened with one breath, yet people refuse to believe. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” The same with homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable / abomination.” The bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination before God but most in the church have rejected God’s word in order to be like the world. Having said that if the church really trusted God’s word, they would understand that there is power to change those destroyed by this abomination. 1 Corinthians 6:9 “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Only when the church returns to God’s word will this power return. The church would rather be like the world instead of repenting. This is not about hate but love but the world does not see that the church should be trying to save them. James 1:22 “Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
But like those heading for Egypt, they really do not want to hear what God has to say. By not trusting God, we give more power to the enemy. Yes, the enemy was fierce, and no one could stand up to them. We saw this when they were about to take the land. Deuteronomy 9:2 “The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” Yet God said do not be afraid, I have given you this land. Deuteronomy 9:3 “But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” God also said if they obeyed, they did not have to be afraid of the Babylonians who were ruthless. Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. 8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; 9 they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. 10 They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. 11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” Even so, King Zedekiah was told by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 38:17 “This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live. 18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from them.’” He didn’t listen because he did not trust Jeremiah or God. Those who went to Egypt also did not listen to Jeremiah when He said Jeremiah 42:11 “Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. 12 I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’” This rebellion, the refusal to trust God’s word, is what got them in this position in the first place. Jeremiah 7:23 “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’” Jeremiah 8:6 “None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” Jeremiah 40:3 “And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him.” Jeremiah 42:19 “Remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today 20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”
If the people had trusted God, they would have taken the promised land much quicker. God said I will give you this land. Genesis 12:7 “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Psalm 105:42 “For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. 43 He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; 44 he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—45 that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:10 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” That promise would apply to the church as well. Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” God would fulfil that promise to Abraham by using Joseph. God showed Joseph in a dream what the future would look like but not how he got to the future. Genesis 37:5 “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” Before this dream took place, Joseph suffered the loss of His family, land and freedom. Though innocent, he was even accused of rape. Here is a summary. Psalm 105:16 “He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19 till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. 20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. 21 He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, 22 to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.” Joseph never gave up and, in the end, saved his family. Genesis 50:19 “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
Joseph was basically left for dead by his brothers. He was sold as a slave, never to be heard from again, or so they thought. God protected Joseph along the way and he ended up in a good place. Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” He was safe and well-cared for or so he thought. The wife of Potiphar tried to seduce Joseph, but Joseph resisted. 9 “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” She then accused him of rape. (This is the Jezebel spirit) He was then put in prison but again God was with him. 20 But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.” Then the day came after two years and Joseph’s dream was finally fulfilled. Genesis 41:39 “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
God’s plan is not always a cakewalk. Joseph shows us that our ways are not God’s ways. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Hosea 14:9 “The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Even King Nebuchadnezzar knew this Daniel 4:34 “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 37 I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
Jeremiah was God’s servant who faced constant persecution for speaking the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 1:4 “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. 9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.” He brought God’s word to the people. Jeremiah 2:11 “My people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols. 12 Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. 13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. 18 Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates? 19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” Jeremiah 7:23 “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” These words also apply to the church. Jeremiah warned the people that destruction was coming because of their rebellion. Jeremiah 25:3 “For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” 8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”
Over and over Jeremiah warned the people but they did not listen. In fact, he was persecuted, thrown in prison and they wanted to kill him. Jeremiah 26:8 “As soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!” This was the life of a prophet. Another prophet who spoke the same words was killed. 20 “Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.” Life was not easy for Jeremiah, but he faithfully trusted God and said everything he was told to say. We see his pain in Lamentations where he laments the fall of Jerusalem. Lamentations 1:10 “The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly. 11 All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. “Look, Lord, and consider, for I am despised.” Lamentations 2:3 “In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it. 4 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading. 15 All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?”
He then laments about the suffering of his people and himself as he has been a part of it. Lamentation 3:1 “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath. 2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; 3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. 10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, 11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. 12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. 14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. 15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and given me gall to drink. 16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. 17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.” 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” It was not easy being Jeremiah. Jeremiah 20:7 “You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. 8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. 10 I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.” 11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause. 13 Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.”
After Jeremiah’s lament in Lamentations, it is here we see the trust that Jeremiah had in God. He said, Lamentations 3:21 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. 28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. 30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. 55 I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. 56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” 57 You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” 58 You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.” Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” When talking about God, Habakkuk said, Habakkuk 3:16 “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Like Jeremiah, Job also had to persevere as he trusted God. He never gave up even though he lost everything. When you read the book of Job you also see how God works, as God even offered up His servant to satan. Job 1:8 “Then the Lord said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job then lost everything, even His children but he said Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” satan then used Job’s wife who said Job 2:9 “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job responded and said 10: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Then satan used Job’s friends who tried to get him to admit he was in the wrong and that was why God brought this trouble upon him. He is also mocked. Job 30:1 “But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. 9 “And now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them. 10 They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face.” But in all this Job trusted God and did not turn against God. His wife wanted him to give up his integrity, but he refused to give in to all the loss and attacks of those around him. Job said, Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Even though Job did nothing wrong, in the end Job would humble himself before God as after all of this he would come to a better understanding of who God was. Job said Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” That is the appropriate response to God for all of us. God then blessed Job and Job 42:10 “restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” James 5:10 “Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
These examples show us what it truly means to trust and obey. Many people sing it about it, but that takes place in a comfy chair at church. It is when we are being tested and disciplined that God finds what is truly in our hearts. 1 Chronicles 29:17 “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” It is not what comes out of our mouths as God knows our hearts. Mark 7:6 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain.” Hebrews 3:7 “So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” The discouraging part about this is that most Christians do not know that their hearts are far from God. They have adopted the teaching of their particular church / doctrines and think all is well with their soul, but they do not know enough to test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” When they do ask questions from their leaders, they do not get the truth that they need to hear because they do not compare the answers to scripture.”
Trusting God means that you will wait on God. A token prayer and then full steam ahead is not waiting on God for His answer. Most Christians today do not wait on God because they either do not know His word or do not trust His word. They are like those who wanted to go back to Egypt. They were already on their way but paid a visit to Jeremiah and then ignored what God said because they did not like His answer. Many refuse to wait on God as we live in a “I want it now society.” Wait and repentance are not words most want to hear. Since most people do not know their bibles well enough, they don’t understand that God does not do things the way we think He should do them. Sadly, many who do know their bibles only read their bibles with the distinct perspective of the church / denomination / doctrines they belong to. Most churches are just human run organizations and are not led by the Spirit of God. Isaiah 30:9 “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” So when God tests and disciplines those He loves, most people will not stay true as Joseph, Jeremiah and Job did. By not trusting God, they don’t actually see the plan that God had for them, nor will they wait for it to unfold. That was the downfall of King Saul who did not wait for Samuel. Instead, what they get is what their own hands have made and they die in the desert or in Egypt. Psalm 106:3 “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.” Most Christians want to go to church on Sunday and feel good about themselves, but they continue living for themselves. If they suddenly lose interest in the church they are going to, or that church no longer meets their needs, they find another that will appease their appetite or stop going. Many have been deceived by worship. Great worship does not mean God is present. In fact, it can be the opposite especially if that church is following other gospels and building in their own strength. Isaiah 1:14 “Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.” Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.”
There is hope for those who are waiting on God to fulfil His promises, those who believe He will. God says Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” There are millions of Christians who have no idea what the truth of the gospel is, nor are they seeking it. Here is a quick way to check if you believe the gospel. This is what Jesus did. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” This is what the disciples did. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” This is the gospel. Do you believe? Are you waiting for this power to return to the church? Because of the rebellion of the church, they have been deceived and are under delusion and therefore there is no power. They are Christians in name only because they do not truly believe and trust in God’s word. It is not possible to be a Christian and not believe and trust God’s word. Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe.” Because of unbelief, in the end they will only hear depart from me I don’t know who you are. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’” Matthew 25:41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” They are not seeking God but are content sitting in captivity, as that is all they know. They have no idea that there is freedom available and once free, power to do as Jesus did. There are also those who are being tested and disciplined but fail the test and turn against God. Like when God freed Israel from Egypt, He put them in situations (lack of water, food, Red Sea) to see whether they would trust and obey His commands. 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” God also disciplines us, but many do not want to be told want to do, but through testing and discipline God can then use us. Hebrews 12:10 “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” God does not want to see us destroyed but to repent. Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
God’s ways are not our ways, so we need to learn God’s ways and trust His word. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” God’s path is perfectly straight but to those of the world and those who refuse to believe, the path will look crooked and even wrong to some. Look at what happened to Job, Jeremiah and Joseph and even the path Jesus had to take. Jesus showed us how we are submit to God the Father. Matthew 26:42 “He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Here we see what it means to honor God with our trust. This journey is not about us, but about God’s plan for our lives that bring Him honor and glory. This is not about bringing honor and glory to ourselves. Arrogance is putting ourselves first. Proverbs 16:5 “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Trusting God means we believe His promises and will submit our lives to Him. As King Nebuchadnezzar concluded after he acknowledged that acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms, he said, Daniel 4:34 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done? 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” If you do not trust God, you will not submit to His ways.
Your journey may be long and arduous, and it may even seem that the end is nowhere to be seen. It may even feel that God is not even present but as Job said Job 23:8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” It may even feel that everything is collapsing around you but do not fear, Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” So, no matter what you are facing, God has not forsaken you if you are seeking Him with all your strength, heart, soul and mind. Yes, if you turn from Him, He will turn from you. Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. 13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.” But God also said Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
When they were about to take the Promised Land, Caleb said Numbers 13:30 “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 14:7 “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them. 10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.” Numbers 14:24 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” That is the spirit we need to have, so don’t give up because God has not forsaken you. Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” When Jesus cried out Matthew 27:46 “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We know that God did not forsake Him and was raised on the third day. Proverbs 22:23 “You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”
Years ago, I was travelling with a friend of mine and his truck was stolen. In the truck was my bible, a very nice bible. It had a soft leather cover and it was beautiful to the touch but really impractical as the pages were fragile, almost like onion skin. What I did like about it was the wide margins for notes. I had marked it up and I have to admit that I was upset about this loss. This bible had become my life source. Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Early on I learned not to seek the words of man but the word of God. Psalm 119:33 “Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. 89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever. 160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” It seems that the more I read God’s word the less that I feel I know as there is always something new to learn. His word is so deep and the more you read the more you understand that God is beyond comprehension. Paul said Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Isaiah 40:12 “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? 14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?” Think about all the questions God asked Job. Job 38-41. Hopefully whoever stole the truck didn’t trash the bible but read it.
Gods’ word has sustained me and without reading every day, I would not make it as I would have given up long ago. Thankfully, shortly after in a clearance section at a bookstore, I found the exact same bible with a hardcover and stronger pages. I don’t know how this happened but because the pages were fragile, a couple must have fallen out and I must have kept them, I found them in my file one day. Those pages are all I have left of that bible, but on those pages are verses of trust. Starting with Psalm 22 and going to Psalm 27. Psalm 22:3 “You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. 4 In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 24:5 “They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.” Psalm 25:1 “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. 2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” And then this one. Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. 7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” If you are waiting, that is the hope you have but you must trust God’s word. Isaiah 25:9 “In that day they will say, Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” Isaiah 26:1 “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Zechariah 12:8 “On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.”
Ask yourself will you still continue the journey trusting God when you are mocked and ridiculed and people think you are crazy for standing on God’s word? Will you continue when life doesn’t go exactly how you planned or thought it should go? Will you continue trusting when everything around you collapses? (Think of Job) God gave Abraham and David an everlasting promise, that is till the last day of this earth and we can hold on to it. The bottom line is that we must submit our lives to God and believe in His promises. Hold on to His word and do not let go. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Test everything you hear and do not be deceived. As Jesus said, very few are going to make it. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” These are days of great deception and delusion, so be very careful but there is hope. Jeremiah told the people Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on 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.”