by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

Hope in the Hard Place of Disappointment (3 of 4)
Series: Hope in the Hard Places
Joe Alain
Jeremiah 29: 1-14

To disappoint is "to fail to meet the expectation or hope of." To be disappointed is to be "defeated in expectation of hope." How do you handle disappointments in life? What do you do when your expectations of how God should act don't come to pass? Exiled in Babylon, God's people were living in disappointment. God wasn't acting in the way that they had hoped for. Jeremiah's letter to the exiles contains God's instructions for how His people were to live while in Babylon. God wants His people to know that He does have a plan for their future and that His plans are for His glory and their ultimate good.

Jeremiah 29:11 of course is a tremendous promise but it must be considered in light of its context. It only has meaning to us as we understand what it meant to God's people when it was first given. The first few verses of this chapter tell us that the letter was written to all of the people living in exile from the elders down to the common man and it was delivered by an envoy sent from King Zedekiah. Jeremiah wants the people to know that this letter is the Word of God to them in their situation. "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says" (v.4). What does the Lord say to his people living in disappointment? How do you live during disappointing times?

What is the word from God to these exiles living in Babylon? God says, I want you to "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce" (v.5). This seems like a strange command from God. Build houses? In Babylon? "We were expecting to hear something different. Something like, 'It won't be long now and I will come to rescue you from your captors and bring you back to Jerusalem.' But build houses? Settle down? Isn't this giving up? Giving in? We were looking for a rescue not a new residence."

Who builds a house when you're not planning on staying somewhere for lo ...

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