Claiming and proclaiming popular promises from scripture is a norm for most Christians. Jeremiah 29:11, we are there. Romans 8:28 – it is for you. Philippians 4:13 – YASSS Lord! I can do anything and everything! Ephesians 3:20 – God can and will do more than I even ask of him.
And these are all great. These verses, sometimes turned quotes are important for reaffirming our faith in the promises that God has given to us. We back up these promises with His words in 2 Corinthians 1:20 and Psalm 89:34.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Corinthians 1:20
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Psalm 89:34
Then some of us tone it down by remembering that these promises were made as a covenant. That it isn’t just about claiming the promises or the ability to ‘keep saying it’ and ‘taking it’. That we have our part to play; be it in submiting to God and living the holy life through grace or following laid down principles. There is an onus on us to play our part by giving our lives to Him and living in obedience by His power in us. There is a general sense that when we do this, we unlock the blessings that He has prepared for us. We quote scriptures like Job 36 and specifically verse 11.
If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. Job 36:11
And these are true, God does have pleasure in our prosperity.
Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. Psalm 35:27
There is no argument about God’s desire for us to live well and prosper. Let’s now go back to Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 and all other scriptures on God’s promise for us. God does have a plan to prosper us. He did make everlasting covenants with us. As Paul said, ‘all things are yours…and you are Christ’s as Christ is God’s’.
But we seem to leave out certain parts of the scriptures and misinterprete them to suit our immediate situations. This is one of the reasons we get frustrated with events in our lives not going in the direction we imagined.
Take Jeremiah 29:11 for example, who was God talking to and what did He say in the preceding and following verses? The chapter is a record of God’s instructions to the Israelites in Babylon folowing the death of Hanaiah, the false prophet (Read Chapter 28). Hanaiah is your modern day charismatic preacher; smooth with all the right flows and facts to spread the message of God’s deliverance. The only catch here is that he was not sent. Just hours or so after a public display of how God would break the yoke of His people, he received a death sentence.
The message in chapter 29 is clear. God told the captives to pray for the peace of the Land of their captivity. He told them to sow and to marry and to multiply. He told them to grow and basically be joyful in the land of their captivity. I will love to study and write about this as a whole topic soon but today, I’m just focused on how God’s promise in verse 11 wasn’t just about the Israelites being set free and living in peace, but about fulfilling His own plan for them. Including the seventy years in captivity. Stay with me.
Let’s look at Romans 8:28. The first part of the scripture gets more airplay than the second or the preceding verses, and then the 29th and 30th verses.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30
All things work together for those called according to His purpose. His purpose is the reason as well as the substance of all things that work together. Basically, it isn’t about you. It is about God and His plans for all mankind to come to Him. And somehow, in all these, you have been chosen as an instrument of that purpose. Like many other people; but fortunately for you, you’ve accepted.
So what about your deep desire to live a comfortable life and have a happy home and build a sprawling empire? Well, they still hold. And God does want things like that for you – in His purpose. He wants to show you off to people and use you as a God-magnet.
Every time, you claim the promises of God for your life, keep in mind that it isn’t about God being a blessings machine that needs to be touched on the right buttons. Your quest for success is bigger than you. Your desires and dreams and goals are bigger than you. It is about His will. But when you submit to His own desires, you will negate the title of this post. Because in Him, you will find your pleasure in a million fold.
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