Today, various false prophets, preachers, and teachers have many people convinced that God has said they’re “coming out” of a difficult season, or will come out “soon,” when God has said nothing of the sort. We see this same occurrence with the false prophet Hananiah concerning Israel.
The Israelites, as we see in Jeremiah 29, were exiled (banished from their land – a form of punishment) for their rebellious behavior toward God, in spite of His lovingkindness and constant warnings. This punishment the people found themselves in the midst of (in Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule) wouldn’t soon come to an end, either, but would last 70 years! (Yes, 70!)
False prophet Hananiah disputed to the people this truth, spoken through the (true) prophet Jeremiah, telling them that God would deliver them far sooner than 70 years… He’d do it in two (see chapter 28).
However, it wasn’t God’s will, as we see, for Israel to have a quick bout in Babylon; that wouldn’t have been beneficial to their growth (as they needed plenty). Therefore, countering the false “coming out” quickly prophecies, hashed out by their false prophets, God, in verses 4-6 of our chapter (29), commands Israel to settle down in the place He’d put them in, because they were indeed going to be there for 70 years. He says to them: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build homes and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
In spite of the judgment the Israelites found themselves facing for their sin, and in spite of the desire they had to “come out” quickly, God’s command was for them to thrive in the midst of it all.
Sisters, suffering, I know, is hard… even when that suffering is the direct result of our own sin (probably more so then, when that is known), as it was with the Israelites. Nevertheless, even then, as we see via our text, we don’t have to wallow in discouragement, we don’t have to seek out (or entertain) false prophets and prophecies for ease, and we don’t have to fear that God has given up on us. How do I know this? In Deuteronomy 31:6, He promises He’ll never leave us, in 1 Peter 5:7, He tells us where we can cast our cares, and in Hebrews 12:5-11, He tells us that He rebukes those He loves.
That said, no matter what you find yourselves facing today (or why), choose to thrive (and grow), in God… anyway.