Carel-J Rischmuller, pastor of the Still Bay Baptist Church, is our first contributor to a weekly Scripture commentary by pastors in the area. He is married to Renee and has two children, Robyn and Aedan. A fisher of men and of fish. A breaker of computers and holy cows.
“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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Everyone has their favourite verse(s) in the Bible. For many people Jeremiah 29:11 is it. Who doesn’t like the idea of a God who gives you nice stuff: prosperity, hope and a future. Many misunderstand this verse, though. What God promises here is not stuff. It is not a promise that nothing bad will ever happen. The word “prosper” here is a translation from the Hebrew word shalom. Shalom is that inner joy and peace that comes from a right relationship with the LORD; independent of circumstances. God doesn’t promise us stuff. He promises us Himself. And that is exactly what we need.