“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
In Jeremiah 29:1-23 God is telling his people, who have been exiled to Babylon, to settle in. He told them to build homes, plant gardens, marry and have children, and to work for the peace and prosperity of their very place of exile – even telling them to pray for that city – for their welfare would be determined by its welfare.
The Lord had spoken through Jeremiah. Yet in their midst, false prophets began giving instructions that were contrary to what God was had said. They claimed that they were hearing from God when in fact they were lying and telling the people that they were having dreams from the Lord.
Not all prophets are truth tellers.
8 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, 9 because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
This emphasizes how important it is to seek the Lord. We cannot forget that while there are true prophets and words from the Lord, there are also those who would would claim God for their own fame and agenda.
There have been many times this year that I’ve been fearful because of a dream or a word someone has had. People are trying desperately to make sense of what’s going on and why the entire world has been turned upside down. But I had to keep reminding myself that God cares for his children. God brings provision when we thought non could exist. Even if the world is crumbling, he is still there. He is still my refuge. He is my foundation, and that foundation is not shaken. And he reminds us in verses 13 and 14 that if we look for him wholeheartedly, we will find him. He will be found by us.
Yes, listen to those who hear from God and have a proven track record. But use discernment. God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. May we ask God for the discernment to know when a message is from the Lord, and when it’s merely human thought or desire.
God is for us, so who can be against us? Let’s be bold in our faith and trust that he’s got us and will lead us.