Recently I read an idea where you are challenged to read the same passage of Scripture each day for a week. I like to change things up in my Daily Time with the Lord every now and then, so I thought I would do this and see how it goes.
After praying, I felt led to settle this week on a familiar passage... Jeremiah 29:11-14
Here are some of the things I learned along the way this week....
The first line of this passage starts out "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord."
I like to know "the plan." It is a real hang-up with me and yet I rarely do know God's plan! But I realized as I read this that it is Okay. I may not know the plan He has for me, but He does and I am to trust Him fully knowing that His plans are always perfect and always the best thing for us.
This passage was written to Israel and God tells them He sent them into exile -- into captivity with Babylon because they had lost sight of Him. And He promises in verse 14 that He "will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
God carried them there -- He did not send them alone. He went with them -- carried them.
I am reminded of when a child is small and is sent to his/her room or the corner of some such place to sit because they are misbehaving and cannot be allowed to play until they settle down. Often I had to physically pick my child up and take him/her to the place of "exile" and even though it might have seemed like I wasn't with them, I was. I did not leave the hour or leave them all alone. Often I was in the room waiting for him/her to settle down. It may have seemed mean to them, but I placed them their for their own good -- to teach them proper behavior-- to protect them from my "wrath" -- to give them a safe place and time to right themselves -- to refocus and get calm.
I think this is what God does. He carries me into exile - a spiritual time out - where I might feel dry and alone, but He is right there with me - teaching me -- giving me an opportunity to avoid His "wrath" -- letting me refocus and quiet myself and when I do I will seek Him with all my heart and He will be found by me. (v. 13)
Back to the beginning words.. "I know the plans I have for you" (v. 11) -- "for YOU" That's the thing that hit me this day.. He has plans for me. It isn't about me figuring out what to do or making a plan, it's about me surrendering to His plan for me.
There is a verse in the Psalms which essentially says Man makes plans but God directs His steps.
Throughout the Word we see that we are not here by accident -- God picked this time and place and He has a plan for us and for our lives. (See Eph 2:10. Ps. 139, Acts 17:26)
It's time to turn loose of my plans and seek after His!
Not sure I learned anything new this day... it was a bit more like being a lab and testing what I had learned! I am living in the midst of a trial... not that unusual for a Believer. Things escalated on this day. I felt the enemy pressing down... doing His best to pull me into despair, dread and doubt. As I was dealing with this.. struggling... I thought of the words of this passage -- again reminded that if I am in exile, God carried me there and is with me and He promises He will bring me back from captivity, BUT it is conditional. He will do this when I seek Hum with all my heart. I chose that day to stand with shaky legs on the promise that He Knows the plan and it is a plan for me and it will give me a Hope and a Future!
"You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (v. 13)
All means ALL -- total -- complete -- Every bit of my heart!
Ps. 86:11 "Teach me Your way, Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name."
Eze. 11:19 "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them, I will remove from them their heart of stone and give the a heart of flesh."
If I want to find God - to truly know Him - I have to set my heart fully - squarely -- on Him and seek after Him with ALL my heart - an undivided Heart... and I get that heart from Him!
So He equips me to have all I need to seek after Him with all my heart because He wants to be found by me!
I enjoyed focusing on one passage a bit each day. Plan on continuing this type of meditation for a bit.