I’m done with Jeremiah 29:11 and this is why

jer 29 11


We have lived in our house just over six years and shortly after we moved in, we put up a vinyl wall decal of one of my favorite verses at the time:  Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


This verse hangs on a wall at the bottom of our stairwell, it is one of the very first things you see in our home when we open our front door.


This verse is one I have shared over and over with my children- either word for word or in a general message of “God loves you. He wants you to succeed and prosper. You are special. He has a plan for your life.”


As I thought about all of the things going on in our world today, I looked at that verse on the wall and decided I had to rip it off. Right that instant. It doesn’t seem fitting with all of the evil and injustice in this fallen world of ours.


Injustices like…


Brothers and sisters in Christ being executed on a daily basis in the Middle East because they choose to declare allegiance to Jesus.


People being shamed, bullied, stereotyped, and even killed because of the color of their skin.


Violence against those who have dedicated their lives to protect ours.


Thousands upon thousands of precious babies losing their lives every single day, before they are even given an opportunity to breathe, simply because they are seen as an “inconvenience”.


Lies, deceit, and words of hatred spewing from the mouths of the people who are supposed to lead us.


People around the world displaced from their homes and fearing they will lose their lives in the midst of violence.


Family losing loved ones, struggling with answers to their questions.


Shootings, death, violence every. freaking. day.


It is just too much and there is no end in sight. We live in a broken, broken world.


Although I told my husband and my kids that I removed the scripture from the wall because I want to repaint (which is true), my grief and reflections on this world is what prompted its expedited removal.


Don’t get me wrong. I believe God is still sovereign. I believe He still reigns. I believe God loves us. I believe the victory is His in the end. I believe He wants good for us, even if that good is only manifested in eternity.


But in the meantime, scriptures like this tend to paint a false hope…and a “prosperity gospel” that Jesus himself would surely contradict and condemn. I still believe in the divine inspiration of this scripture. I still believe it is included in the Bible for a reason and is applicable to us in an eternal sense. But I have also come to realize that this scripture is not a promise for me. It is not a promise for you.  It’s time to stop claiming it as a life verse. I am not a Biblical scholar, but from my little bit of research (and reading the verse in context of the chapter) it was a promise spoken from God himself to Jeremiah to share with Israelites carried into exile in Babylon. Ultimately, God frees his people 70 years later just like He said he would.


Although the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 wasn’t necessarily intended for us, Jesus himself makes some promises to His disciples in the New Testament. And as present-day disciples who have received the Holy Spirit, these promises apply to us as well.


“I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”  -John 16:33


“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”  -John 15:18


“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  -Matthew 10:28


Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”  -Matthew 16: 24-25


These verses aren’t printed on graduation cards, we don’t often tell them to our children as encouragement for the road of life ahead. They aren’t happy and optimistic. Actually, they often make us wonder what on earth we signed up for when we chose to be followers of Jesus (or maybe that is just me). The time is coming (and has already come for many in this world) where being a follower of Jesus will cause us to lose our lives in one way or another. And if it doesn’t/hasn’t, maybe that is a reflection of its authenticity.


As much as I love the sentiment of Jeremiah 29:11, I do not want it to define my faith any longer. Our faith is not one of prosperity and promises of an earthly future. We are a broken people who need to know that hardships are part of our journey, whether we like it or not. And we are only guaranteed this very moment that we are breathing (James 4:14).


My 6-year old son was distraught as I removed this verse from the wall. He said, “Mommy, isn’t God’s Word more important than new paint?” I agreed wholeheartedly and promised I would be replacing it with a new verse very soon. The new verse will not be one that is a promise to someone else, however. The new verse will be one of resolve and action… words spoken by the mighty warrior Joshua near the end of his life to the people of Israel as a final call to action, of life and death nature:


“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
-Joshua 24:15



Let us not be naive about the trouble we face on this earth. The gods of wealth, violence, hatred, and division surround us. Let us arise as warriors willing to fight for the souls of each person on this Earth, armed with the weapons of Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and love.




  1. Yes I too agree that we should interpret the scriptures in the context they were written with respect to the cultures involved at the time and to the message that each of the human authors wished to convey to the respective audience, yet it is lacking if we do not realize that God inspired them to write what He wanted them to write not just for that particular group of people long ago, but to all generations. If we followed that way of thinking all generations after biblical times would be doomed.

    It is not false hope that God in His great power could convey not only to them but also to all of us throughout time. It just shows how much he loves each of us.

    Evil abounds, but God’s love and action abound all the more.

  2. I know you might not feel very well at this time, I do not want to critisize just encourage you. We are in the end times. I am a missionary in Portugal. Europe has been hit with its abundance of a attacks, I have gone though sickness and childloss, but Jesus did say that he came to give us life and life in abundance. We must learn to live our trials leaning on the Lord. In the shadow of the Almighty. In the midst of a world of Darkness we can live life abundantly. A life with Jesus is much easier than a life without him. Unbelievers are lost they have no hope they have no purpose they go through trials alone they fall into despair, depression and anxiety. They are slaves to sin. Jesus gives us a purpose and He is our hope. Keep Your eyes on Jesus, point Your kids to Jesus He alone gives joy and peace.

    1. It seems Lancy, that you know, that this verse(Jeremiah 29:11) IS for us. Because God’s love is the same, so God is. And it doesn’t have anything in common with “Prosperity” gospel. It is the same as John 10:10 and 2. Corinthians 9:8
      And so on. 2. Peter 1:3. Romans 8:28 and Romans 8:31-32.
      God bless you and believe in God’s Word, although somebody tells us this is out of context.

  3. Well said! Thank you for sharing this realization. Ask not what the Lord can do for us but what we can do for the Lord.

  4. In Jeremiah 29, God’s comments are specifically aimed at the Israelites exiled in Babylon. He had allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and take them into exile because , once again, they had forsaken Him and begun to practice paganism and idol worship. However, as promised, after 70 years had passed, the Israelites were released by the new ruler , Darius the Mede, and Jerusalem and the Temple were rebuilt. Thus, as always, Jehovah God’s promise was kept.
    Meanwhile, the hope promised to the majority of those saved after Armageddon is indeed an “earthly one” but not of this world but the next, the New Kingdom on earth. Heaven is a spiritual world and consequently only spiritual beings may inhabit it. The hope promised by God and preached by Christ is that the meek shall inherit the earth following Armageddon and the resurrection. That earth will be perfect in every sense, no tears, no pain, no death, ruled by a perfect being ; Christ, our Lord. It will be a paradise on earth. Hence Christ taught us whilst he was with us to pray to Jehovah God saying “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” The will of God will never be done on earth while the nations of mankind rule.

  5. Sounds like you might have recently read “Radical” by David Platt. Our “American Dream” brand of Christianity hasn’t got the following message: It’s not about ‘your best life now.’ It’s about dying to this life (and world) in order to live for Him.
    You have wisdom beyond your years. Blessings,

  6. I haven’t come across the book you refer to and I wish I could claim to be wise. However my source of wisdom is simply God’s own word, The Bible. Once you discover the chronological history of The Bible and see how all of Jehovah God’s promises and prophecies come true, belief in Armageddon (Christ’s triumph over Satan and the nations) becomes, no longer a leap of faith but a natural and logical conclusion.
    You’re so right about this life and this world. Christ’s own disciples, quite understandably, took an age to comprehend that the Messiah was never going to lead an earthly revolution against the Roman oppression in human form. It was always necessary, from The Bible’s first prophecy in Genesis 3:15, for Christ to provide a new and final covenant by dying for us, being resurrected, thus taking on the sins of the world and redeeming us from original Adamic sin. This act of supreme sacrifice paved the way for Armageddon, Christ’s final triumph over Satan. Although Satan still rules this world, we know that his time is fast running out, (Matt 24:3, Luke 21:7, Mark 13:4). Unfortunately, the closer he comes to his own destruction the more fervently he strives to entrap us and the more disgusting this world becomes; (1 Peter 5:7-9). Take a look around, who can you trust today? Banks, insurance companies, car producers, commercial big business, politicians, world religions, they all, without exception have become corrupt. We are living in the time of the “conclusion of this system of things.”

  7. I understand your feelings about this verse, but I think the true interpretation needs to be according to God’s definitions and not ours. The first part of the verse certainly applies to everyone. God does know the plans He has for us. If we recall that God is not the source of evil in this world, then yes, His plans ARE to prosper us. We also have to consider that God’s definition of prosperity is different from ours.

  8. As we come to the end of our life. I still believe and love our god.
    Ask not what the Lord can do for us, but what can we do for the lord

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