“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name: I did not send them, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29: 7-9
This scripture comes just before one of the many Christians like to memorize (myself included), Jeremiah 29:11. Who wouldn’t want the reminder that God has plans for us? Not just plans but plans for good and not evil. For a future and a hope. Yet, not too many realize that the verses above come directly prior to it. These are some serious Words of warning.
As Christians we are expected to make every effort to be in the Word of God. To gain an understanding of it. This is not just for our own spiritual benefit but it also allows us to recognize when someone is speaking or teaching something that is in contrast to God’s Word and Who He is. We cannot do that if we don’t know what it says. In Acts 17, Luke writes that the scribes were in the temple every day, reading and studying scripture and in his first letter to Timothy, Paul instructs him to do the same.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a much higher prevalence of the ‘false’ teaching scripture warns us about in today’s church. With church attendance dwindling it seems like many pastors are becoming more interested in speaking of what people want to hear rather than God’s truth, what is often called the ‘Wealth and Prosperity gospel.’
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says ‘All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for corrections, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.’
All Scripture. ALL. In case your not sure what that encompasses….the entire Word of God, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. All 66 books. Every word from beginning to end is important. We don’t get to say; ‘that’s not relevant anymore’ or that ‘that’s the Old Testament.’ ‘It was written by man not God.’ etc. etc.
NO! From beginning to end it is ALL the Word of God.
I’m not going to claim that I know every inch of the Bible let alone that much of any book held within it. I am not a scholar by any means but I do love God and I love His Word. I don’t have enough hours in the day to tell you all the strength and comfort that I have found within His Word. I can say that around the time of my last post, over a year ago, I was regularly praying the Psalms of His protection over my husband.
My husband was toward the end of his long career and was consistently being harassed by the town officials he worked for and those around them. He’s a very hard working man and took pride in the work that he did for so long. It hurt my heart immensely to see the amount of pain and suffering those men caused him. Reading those Psalms over him, using his name within it, reminded me, ME, of Who God is and what He can do. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING is beyond his power.
And you see, this is where the problem with the Wealth and Prosperity ‘gospel’ is. It makes it seem as if, more often that not, our lives should being going really well. Our health good, relationships healthy and plenty of money in the bank. My friend, that is just not true. While I hope and pray that it is often, we are not promised that.
We are promised that;
He will never leave us or forsake us-Deuteronomy 31:8
He will fight for us-Exodus 14:14
He will give strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak-Isaiah 40:9
With Him we need not fear or be dismayed, He is with us and will help us-Isaiah 41:10
No weapon formed against us will prevail-Isaiah 54:17
He will give us wisdom-James 1:5
As believers we will have eternal life with Him-John 3:36
He will meet our needs-Philippians 4:19
He hears our prayers-1 Peter 3:12
He gives us strength-Philippians 4:13
We have a responsibility to be active in our faith. Jesus Himself was an example of this. The scriptures often speak of how He went out on His own to be in prayer with His Father. If Jesus, God in flesh-Son of God, needs to take time to spend in prayer and meditation, than so do we. The scriptures also tell us how, in many of His interactions, He spoke scriptures from what we call the Old Testament. As an example, when He spent 40 days and nights in the desert before starting His ministry. He spent those days being tempted by Satan himself. How did He respond? By speaking scripture against Satan.
If He did these things, we need to do them too.
I pray that this encourages you to be in prayer and to study scripture. To learn who God truly is and about how deeply He loves you. Lean into Him my friend. He’s there waiting for you.
In Jesus’ precious name.