It has been over 5 months since I posted an entry to our liturgy on Jeremiah. Some of it has been busyness. However, most of it has had to do with spiritual wrestling. You see, Jeremiah 29 has the verse. You know, the verse.
“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
It is on coffee cups, journals, engraved in rocks, posters, coasters and Bible covers. That verse practically has its own theology. I know that my struggle is one that has its roots in faith and Christianity that is cursed with abundance. It creates a kind of narcissism that might rival the ancient Greeks. I believe that verse, out of context, has done more damage than any other verse in the Holy Scriptures.
It reminds me of this lyric from the group, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds1:
There is this shortsightedness that comes from ignoring something important, and treating it lightly, and highlighting our personal gain while doing so. Reading Jeremiah 29 (and verse 11) with such hubris, leads us exactly where Satan wants us: thinking that everything is about us.
The previous 28 chapters do a better job of showing what the world looks like when everything is about us. Truth is we choose faithlessness and unfaithfulness. Jeremiah 29 should and does, show us how much God loves us. Don’t you dare read Jeremiah 29 without considering the story in the preceding 28 chapters.
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds is a secular band. Be warned. ↵