With the Babylonian army threatening their border, Jerusalem was a place with little to no hope. How could that hope be for real? To teach His people that hope is real, the Lord told Jeremiah to do something crazy. In fact it was perhaps the most ridiculous move anyone could take – unless hope is true.
Jeremiah 29:1-14 is addressed to people from Jerusalem who have already been deported to Babylon but before Jerusalem itself has been completely destroyed. These people want to escape. They want the exile to end and they want to get back home. Jeremiah writes the letter in this chapter to set them straight. Surprisingly, he doesn’t tell them how to escape; instead he tells them how to endure. What do we do while we await the not-yet? What’s there to do in Babylon?
Today’s leaders promise hope and change only to deliver corruption and scandal. We elect bright promising outsiders who go to Washington and immediately become insiders. They cease fighting for the ideals they promised in the campaign and start fighting to keep themselves in power. Who can make things right? Who will help us out of this mess?
Why is God so difficult to believe in? We want control. We explain away His gifts and provision. We want a predictable god who doesn’t surprise us. The God of Scripture is complicated and does not answer all our questions. We are afraid the hope of the gospel is too good to be true. The truth is that God is really not hard to believe in. The problem is that it is our hearts that are fickle.
This section marks the beginning of the end of the letter. In conclusion, Peter returns his main theme of the letter: how you deal with fellow believers and hostile nonbelievers. His answer is in each case you need the right perspective.