Is Jeremiah 29:11 a wonderful plan for you?

Here is another well-known bible verse many Christians know and often quote.

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.” (Jer 29:11 NIV).

Many take this verse and apply it as a personal promise that God has a wonderful plan for their lives. But is this what this verse teaches? Can Christian’s name and claim health and wealth using this verse? Let us put to practice 2 Tim 2:15 and be good students of the word and delve deeper to see what it really teaches.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)

Context Rule:

An important rule to consider when reading scripture: ‘A text (or verse) without a context is a pretext.’ Meaning, you can make the verse say whatever you want it to say if it doesn’t have a context. So, for us to understand this verse better, it is important we read the verse in its context.

Following this rule, let’s look at this passage from where this verse comes from: Verse 1 – 10,

          Jeremiah is writing a prophetic letter to the exiles in Babylon.

          He first tells them to settle down there in Babylon; build homes, plant gardens, go marry, live in peace in the city while they are in captivity.

          He tells them to not listen to those false prophets (during this time, there were false prophets making claims that God would release His people soon from captivity.)

          He tells the captives that they will be in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. This news would have been heart breaking for the captives as they were given false hope from false prophets.

          He tells them that after 70 years God will keep His good word and return them back to their land.

          He reminds them that God is thinking of them in their captivity for God had desired that His people would have repented of their sin of turning their back on Him for they had chased after other god’s and forgotten the One that set them free from slavery and led them to this promised land.

          The reason for this captivity was because they did not obey the law to give the land a sabbath rest every seventh year.


Now let’s look at Jeremiah 29:11

‘For I know the plans…’ – The word ‘plan’ here in the hebrew is the word ‘mahasaba’ which also means thoughts. It’s God’s thoughts towards this people. Scripture tells us that the Lord’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reads “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Micah 4:12a says “But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel.”

Although the captives in Babylon desired to be rescued by God and to return to their land,

God is planning and orchestrating something bigger for their good. Because God is outside of time, He has the foresight to see the beginning from the end and so He has the foreknowledge of working things out for the good of His people.

We are also told in scripture about God’s thoughts towards those who love Him.

“How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You” (Psalm 139:17-18).

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt 10:29-31)

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

Although these people may feel like God has abandoned them, God has not. God is thinking about His people, and He is in control and He is true to His word.


1.       “…I have for you…”

We know that from the context of this verse that the ‘you’ is referring to these Israelites in captivity. This verse is not a personal promise written to YOU the Christian. This isn’t a prosperity gospel message. However, that doesn’t mean that this verse isn’t relevant for YOU. It is written for YOU, though it is not a personal promise to YOU. I will explain this further at the end of this article.


2.       “…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Although this isn’t a personal promise written to the Christian, this is a powerful reminder for us of God’s character and who the God of Israel is. He is faithful and He is in control. Though the Israelites who were taken as captives were given the bad news by Jeremiah from God that they were going to be held in captivity for 70 years, God was in control in that He was working behind the scenes making things work out for them in the background. God was faithful as we find out in History that He was true to His word. The Israelites (just over 50,000 of them) returned to their land after 70 years from this captivity.


So then, How does this Jeremiah 29:11 apply to us today?

As we spoke about before, This verse is not a personal promise written to YOU the Christian. You are not promised that you will have an easy prosperous life as some believe when they take this verse out of context. However, that doesn’t mean that this verse isn’t relevant for YOU. When we take the focus away from us and put it back on God, this verse is a powerful reminder of who He is. He is faithful, He is true to His word, and He is in control. Though the world around you may feel like it’s falling apart just like it was for these Israelite captives who received further bad news of 70 years of captivity in Babylon. God was still with them. Though the difficult time you are going through might not end tomorrow, God thoughts are for those who love Him like they were for this people in captivity. And just like God was working behind the scenes to make things work out for the Israelites in captivity. God can work things out for the good of those who love Him. God’s word is true and He will bring His people through. The gospel message isn’t a message about living an easy prosperous life, but rather we will have struggles and trials and maybe even persecution as Christians. And though you may go through a hopeless situation, trust in the one who died, was buried, and rose again on the third day for in Him is hope and peace. In Jesus is the promise of eternal life.



Fresh Truth Ministries

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