|Today’s Scripture: For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:10-11|
Israel had disobeyed God, and God had promised that they would be taken captive for seventy years. Yet, even in His punishment, God promised that they would return. He promised He had not abandoned them, but that His thoughts were still for their good. God promised to perform His word that they would have the land even though He had to remove them for the time being.
You may feel like the Israelites during those seventy years, but don’t despair! God is still working. It may feel as if you have been abandoned, but you have not. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He knows that in the end, He will bring the blessing He has promised.
Just as some of the Israelites may have felt alone and their prayers for deliverance weren’t answered, you may feel like God is ignoring you. But God used those seventy years to help Israel, and He can use your trial to help you, too. You may pray that the trial would end, but God knows how long it needs to be. Israel had continually fallen into idolatry, yet after those seventy years in Babylon, they never fell back into it. God knows what it will take to get you where He wants you to be.
God never stopped thinking about Israel, even in their punishment. He never backed away from His promise that they would have the land. His thoughts were still for their good, not their harm. Sometimes we can forget God’s goodness when we can’t see Him working. The Israelites saw their bondage, not God’s workings in the background. We can get stuck looking at our current situation, rather than what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We need to remember His thoughts are of peace, good, and bring us to where He wants us to be.
If you’re stuck in “captivity,” remember, God will bring you through it. He has a plan that’s better than you can even imagine. Keep serving God, and don’t give up. He has promised in His Word, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) The blessing will come in God’s time; purpose to be ready to receive it.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder