What is the Meaning of Jeremiah 29:11? - Radical

What is the Meaning of Jeremiah 29:11?

Does Jeremiah 29:11 teach that God will keep his followers from all suffering? Does prosperity play a role in the Christian life? In this video, Pastor David Platt argues that prosperity is a false hope, but that we can patiently wait for God to bring us through all suffering. In recent years, many have claimed that followers of Christ will be whole, healthy, and successful in every area of life. Pastor Platt acknowledges that even the people in Jeremiah’s day sought God as an immediate remedy for their suffering. Then and now, however, God promises to walk with us in our suffering and that he will prevail in the long run.

  1. False Hope in Prosperity
  2. Clinging to God Through Suffering 
  3. Patiently Trusting

Watch Full Message of The Plan of God in the Suffering We Experience

Don’t believe people who tell you that God will keep you from all suffering or that God will bring you out of suffering really quickly. That’s false hope. It abounded in Jeremiah’s day and it is abounding today. In the mouths of prophets then and in the mouths of preachers today all across our country. Please hear me loud and clear. Many of the fastest-growing churches in our country today are built on this false hope. I was having a conversation recently about one church that draws tens of thousands of people and they say explicitly, I quote, “It is God’s will for every believer to become whole, healthy, and successful in every area of life.”

Beware of False Teaching

They claim that on the cross, Jesus bought for us not just spiritual provision, but physical provision and financial provision. So this is not just out there teaching. This is mainstream, common teaching that is drawing supposedly Christian crowds. And not just here, all around the world. Many of the fastest supposedly Christian churches and movements and supposedly Christian books are built on teaching that says God wills for you to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous in this world.

God wills to keep you from all suffering, if only you will trust in him. Have faith in him. And if by chance for some reason you find yourself in suffering, maybe even because of a lack of faith, if you’ll only return to God in faith, your suffering will end in a short time. Believe this, claim this, trust that prosperity is coming. Tell yourself this, power of positive thinking even, have faith. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you.” God wills to prosper you financially, physically, otherwise. And if you’re suffering right now, you need to believe that prosperity is coming soon because that’s what Jeremiah 29:11 teaches, right?

What is the Meaning of Jeremiah 29:11?

When in reality, Jeremiah 29:11 teaches the exact opposite. God’s people were in exile according to God’s will. And according to God’s word, their suffering in exile was not coming to an end anytime soon. Now, you might think, I like the other message better, which is exactly what the people in Jeremiah’s day were thinking. It’s why they were believing these false prophets. And God is saying to us right now, the exact same thing he was saying to them then, don’t believe it.

Jeremiah 29:11 Promises that God Will Bring Us Through Suffering

Don’t put your hope in crowd-pleasing words. Why? Because they’re not from God. Jeremiah, the prophet who is speaking the word of God says, here is true hope. Follow this. Your hope is not that God wills to keep you from all suffering.

That’s not at all what Jeremiah 29:11 teaches. Jeremiah 29:11 teaches that God wills to bring you through all suffering. We’ve seen this. Context of Jeremiah 29 makes crystal clear that suffering is a reality for God’s people in this fallen world and God’s people will not escape it. But God says to his people, in the middle of suffering, I promise to enable you to endure it. And God does not promise in his word that suffering will end in a short time. That is a false hope that has led all kinds of people astray.

Preachers or Christians saying, if you just believe, have faith, you will be healed soon. If you just have faith, believe, you will have financial health soon. If you just believe, your marriage will be reconciled soon. Name it, claim it. Believe it, receive it. And then when it doesn’t happen, when the healing doesn’t come, when the finances aren’t there when the divorce becomes final, people are left wondering, did I not have enough faith or worse, is God actually there? Or if he is there, can he actually be trusted? When God never in his word promised that your suffering would end in a short time.

You might ask, did God promise anything along these lines? And the answer, though not as popular, is clear here in Jeremiah 29:11, true hope, God promises your suffering will end in the long term. “Exile will not be the end for you,” God tells his people. Your suffering will not have the last word. “I have good plans for you,” God says. “And my good plan is guaranteed to prevail in the end.”

Jeremiah 29:11 Calls for Patient Trust

Do you realize what this means? What it meant for God’s people in Jeremiah 29? And what it means for us as God’s people today? God’s plan calls for patient trust. 70 years is a long time to wait. Most of us would like God to work out our problems by the end of the week, not the end of the century, which is why these false prophets were so appealing then, and it’s why prosperity teaching is so popular today, but it’s not true. It’s a lie. What’s true is that God is calling his people through his word, through this word to patient trust. Is it possible that suffering could end soon in this or that situation? And healing, reconciliation, whatever might happen? Absolutely. By the grace and power of God, it is.

And we can and should pray for that. But is it guaranteed? Absolutely, it is not. You can’t bank your life on that. God hasn’t said that, no matter how good it sounds. And I’m not going to say it as your pastor, no matter how many crowds it brings or doesn’t bring. What God says is that when suffering comes, sometimes suffering stays.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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