It is cold outside the castle, but even though I venture out very little I sometimes receive letters and notes from the outside... cards of greeting with sweeping prose and even historic biblical passages attached! Simple passages with the seeming intent that it was actually written with my very own self as the intended object of the most Holy writ! Wow - a single passage written for ME!
At least, I think it was written to me... people keep sending me cards with this scrawled upon them addressed to me.. er, well, it was written quite a while ago - before I was born! So... Well, even before Granpa...or Granpa's Granpa! Heck - even before Jesus was born! Perhaps..um, well let me look further into the matter.
If you enter even 'Jere' in Google's search field suggestions pop up, of which when I entered it the fifth down says Jeremiah 29:11 in contrast to the bazillion online items those four letters might coincide with. What are the odds! 'Jeremi' finds this passage as third choice while 'Jeremia' picks it for 2nd place and, you guessed it, the actual name Jeremiah with no numbers attached comes home with the number one spot suggestion, 'Jeremiah 29:11'... without Hollywood star Robert Redford's famous movie 'Jeremiah Johnson' showing up at all and even the famous 'Jeremiah was a Bullfrog' song appearing distantly in the haze at 7th place.
Gee, what an important verse this must be that it shows up everywhere from greeting cards to web searches! And what does it mean when it is so universally reknowned yet always regarded as an extremely personal intention?
*Ahem* All this discussion and we haven't even looked at the text in question (!), which is:
"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."
- Book of Jeremiah, Chapter Twenty Nine, Verse Eleven.
Whoa! Are you kidding me?! Well shoot, there it it is plain black and white! No wonder they print this in a zillion cards at the Christian Bookstore. The LORD does say 'you' quite a bit for just one teeny tiny little verse.. in fact 'you' is said FOUR TIMES in just ONE sentence.
Oh, I get it! The 'you' is, of course, 'me'. I see - when I read that bit I just insert my name for the 'you'. That really IS personal! Prosperity, Hope and a Future - Directly from God for ME! Wow, that Bible really is a great book after all, I really should read more of it. In fact, I think I should read more around this part because it seems like next it's gonna give me the lottery numbers!
Alright! (flipping pages with delight)
Ok...blah,blah...(flipping pages)..Blah.. Yay! There it is! I found one! Another 'you' in this book o' blessing! Jeremiah 28:16... Oh I can't wait!
"Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 'I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die..."
There must be some mistake!
Why, I was just promised that the Lord had a future and a hope for me! Plans to prosper me! Now He's gonna kill me? Ok, there must be more 'you's concerning me in this book. Let me try the chapter I was in, that seemed to have the good stuff!
Hey, there's another 'you' right here in Jeremiah 29:21:
"Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall put them to death before your very eyes."
Who in tarnation is Ahab? I've never talked with him, let alone remember receiving any prophecy from such a guy - and a lie at that! And that dude with the spelling bee nightmare of a name? He's gonna start killing people before my very eyes? No wonder no one reads this stupid old book - it doesn't make any sense it all and seems to be written by some bipolar psycho!
Wait... now what's all this nonsense?
Jeremiah, Chapter Twenty Nine, Introductory Verse ONE:
"These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon... The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
...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."
That's bizarre. According to this I didn't even make the list! Here it says this is intended for all these stupid exiles, priests and people with unpronounceable names who were banished to Babylon thousands of years ago!
That must mean that all that crazy talk about death in Jeremiah 28:16 doesn't apply to me, just some silly forgotten people in the past.
Oh... and I guess that means Jeremiah 29:11 also....uh... oh man.
What a waste of cards.
The Lion of the North