Is Jeremiah 29:11 a Promise for Us Today?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is a pretty popular verse for Christians to cite.  It’s a comforting verse, so it’s understandable.  However, I don’t think Christians are paying attention to the context of the verse.

Verse one says “These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”  So, that means that verse is specifically for the Israelites during the 70 year exile in Babylon.  If it’s a promise specifically made to those particular people in that particular context, then I don’t think Christians can take the promise and attribute it to themselves.

But God does make promises specifically to us Christians that are equally as comforting.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

So we’re not left out. 😉

Edit: I realize that the epistles are also addressed to specific persons or groups, so one could respond by saying that if Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t for Christians today because it’s specifically addressed to the Israelites at the time, then those passages I quote in Philippians and Romans are only addressed towards the Philippians and Romans at the time.  In the case of Romans 8, I think it’s clear that Paul is talking universally for all who believe in God, not just for Romans.  Same goes for Phil 1.

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