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Jeremiah 29.11–14 ESV
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
We start a new emphasis today, a series called CONSTRUCTION ZONE. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be hearing words like blueprint, foundation, framing, and finishings. Today we begin with BLUEPRINT.
Now, my guess is that many of you have heard the words, “God has a plan for your life,” at least a couple dozen times. And I know for me, those words lose a little of their meaning when I hear them out of the mouth of a prosperity preacher or read them in a pseudo-religious self-help book. The good news is that God DOES have a plan for our lives, though it may be quite different than the popular ideas that circulate.
You see, the divine blueprint is God’s plan to build a life-saving community. Community is important because it is the main vehicle for gathering people together in a common place. And why would God want to gather people together? Because God desires to bring people together who are living their lives lost in the woods of sin, as they try to construct a purpose and a plan all on their own without God.
But what would happen if God were to form a holy search party, a committed group of people that would take to the wilderness of the world and find the lost people, bringing them back to a community of purpose and meaning? This is actually exactly what God is doing through Jesus Christ. Let’s look at our text this morning, from Jeremiah 29.11–14…
In our text today, the people of Israel are the search party I referred to, only at this particular point in time they have lost their way and have been exiled from their promised land because of their disobedience to God and His blueprint. They fell back into the very lost-ness that they were saving people from. Because God’s plan is to build a holy community that brings salvation to a lost and hurting world, to move away from that plan is heart-breaking action toward God.
Think of it like this: you spend time, money, resources and emotions on saving someone’s life and then they trash it all over again. Or look at it from a parent’s perspective: you clean up the house only for the kids to tear it up again! God has gone to great lengths to welcome the world into His redeeming community. Therefore, His expectations is that through the relationship He is offering us, we would grow in maturity and ability and become something the world can look upon with a great desire to join and be saved.
So, God knows that if He can get the people back to business—back to the business of being a holy and redeeming community—then the world can once again benefit from their presence. God desires to get things back on track. And so this is where the text connects to us. God is telling us all that there is a plan, to prosper us and give us a future. And that prosperity and future is wrapped up in God’s covenant that began with Abraham and the promise to bless the whole world through God’s holy community. The people in the text and the Church today are all part of this covenant.
The conditions for this covenant, both receiving it and executing it in the world, are to cease seeking the good of the self only, of having an individual attitude and a focus on lost-and-worldly things, and to accept the invitation to seek a Godly community, a holy gathering, that can become a culture of salvation and of hope. This blueprint moves from paper to pavement when our hearts turn in response to God’s call. As the text says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with your whole heart.”
When we seek God and His plans, His purposes, this is when the Blueprint begins to make the most sense. We know what we’re looking at now, what is being built, and we become excited and driven by the divine plan. We understand that the plan will better us and better others. It’s a win-win-win: God is glorified, we are saved, and others are redeemed through Christ in us. Everyone benefits.
So, if you are the person of faith who is wayward, you can simply turn back and embrace the call to be an important part of what God is doing. For the lost and wandering, you who are seeking something more—a purpose and a plan—there is a place that you can call home. You have but to pray in earnest to the God who is waiting to hear that prayer, so that He may receive you.
It is up to you. God has laid out His blueprint, a plan for a future and a hope. Will we here today seek the Lord and find Him? I pray that you will, for God is waiting for you. Let us pray.