January 8, 2023

God’s Plans for Us

Passage: Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pastor Eugene Morell once shared about God's Game Plan. A few years after he committed his heart to Christ, he felt he was called to the Ministry. He told his wife Barbara what he felt in his heart, but her response wasn't very flattering. She said, “You can never be a pastor, because you can't sing. How can anyone be a pastor who can't sing.” Morell shared that the dream of entering the Ministry went out the backdoor in a flash. But God had other plans. His Game Plan came into play, because about 2 years later Morell began studies at home and then he went to College for 3 years. God, he
said never gives up on His Game Plan. When I read this testimony of Pastor Morell it made me think of the Game Plan God has for our lives. He is going to bring into action what He planned for each one of us individually. And think about His plans for the family of Langley Presbyterian Church in the year 2023! Yes, I think you all are living in anticipation of how the Lord is going to bring about a new relationship with a new minister.

The prophet Jeremiah was called to deliver a message to the House of Israel when they were in exile. Their sins and failures got them there and they knew it. And when the message of the prophet was about to be delivered one could just imagine what they thought, “O, Jeremiah spare us another one of your sermons. We got the point of your last one. We're in Babylon, because we sinned!” But to their surprise there was a different message: Chapter 29: 11, “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.”

What was Jeremiah’s message to the people of Israel? The same message we have to take to heart in our day – GOD KNOWS THE BEST. He gave these words through His prophet, “I know the plans I have for you.” God sees our “tomorrows” before they become our “todays.” If you and I were in a position to read the book of our life stories from the first page to the last, then we would know the outcome of everything. “Wouldn't that be wonderful?, we might think.” No, that wouldn't be wonderful. Just think how stressed out we would be when we learn of all the hardships and obstacles
we would face. No, my friends, we have to trust God that He will bring the best before us and keep us from harm. And that because, He knows the best what we need. His plans are perfect. We need to let God be God. Not that we can ever dictate whether God will be God. But you know what I mean. We need to acknowledge – only God can bring everything into place as it should be. St. Paul wrote in Romans 11: 33, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Only God has the wisdom and
knowledge to bring His plans into realization. Just think of how He did it for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham receive a descendant in Isaac as it was promised. Isaac asked God to make him prosperous and to deliver him from his enemies and it came into fulfillment. So much so, that Abimelek, who wanted to bring harm to him, made the
confession, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you.” Genesis 26: 28. To Israel the fact that God knew the plans He had for them must have brought a wonderful peace in their hearts. They had no vision before them, because they had been stripped from everything; their prospects were very low. Have you been at that point to make the
confession, “I just don’t know where to from here?” Do you realize my friends, that is the best point for any person to reach, because at that point you don’t have any other choice than to surrender you entire agenda to God?

Jeremiah continues – GOD PLANS WILL MAKE US PROSPER. We read, “…plans to prosper you and not harm you…” Sometimes, we have a hard time with words like these. Why would God allow some to be prosperous and others to suffer? Why would we be in this privileged position to live in a wonderful country with so many resources and there are those in African countries starving to death. Why would one person be blessed in what he does, but the one next to him can try anything possible, but it would never be a success? What is the meaning of God’s plan to see His chosen ones prosper? Jeremiah
prophesied earlier that God’s children were going to be taken into exile for seventy years, but then the time was going to come for them to return to Jerusalem. God was going to make them
prosper, but there was something more – their future as a people was going to be secured in God’s covenant that would be fulfilled in Christ. In Chapter 23: 5 and 6 God already revealed His plan of prosperity in His Son, “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,” when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King Who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” We are in the wonderful position that for us the King had already come; He has secured prosperity for His people when He gave the deepest sacrifice on the cross to restore which was ruined by sin.
And more than 2000 years since He walked the earth, He still makes us to prosper. This congregation has seen His ways of bringing prosperity through different people from the time it was established until now. There were different minsters with different gifts and we wait on the Lord to begin a new chapter with a new minister.

Lastly Jeremiah prophesied that GOD’S PLANS WILL BRING HOPE AND A FUTURE. “…plans to give you hope and a future.” For the Jewish people, that meant going back to the Promised Land. For them it came into fulfillment – God gave them back their land. Their hope didn’t go unanswered. But for us hope and future has the
meaning of going up to the Promised Land where we will be forever in the presence of God; to the land where the Lamb in the middle of the throne will be our Shepherd and lead us to springs of living water. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a hope and a future that goes far beyond this life. What is our response in a world of imperfection and diseases and depression to God’s plans? Perhaps we all can speak with one voice by saying, “God of grace, we want You to guide us.” Let’s place ourselves in His hands – day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year.


Rev. Willem H. van de Wall