Kevin Welborn | @theKevinWelborn
I was convinced as an 8 year old kid that I would play both sides of the ball in the NFL and be an astronaut. I would embody the American ideals of strength and ingenuity. Players in the NFL are massive AND fast. I am not quite massive and certainly not fast. Astronauts have to be exceedingly intelligent in addition to their sweet buzz cuts. Math is hard and stuff.
In other words, my plans from the late 1980s did not pan out and I am content with that. God had a different plan from the beginning. The very beginning.
One of the most quoted verses from the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11, you know the one about God having prosperous plans for our future. It really is a great passage, but one that we take out of context. We use it as a security blanket and as a promise that one day everything will be perfect. I truly do believe one day everything will be perfect, but this is not what Jeremiah had in mind here.
During this time, the Jewish people were in exile in Babylon. A false prophet named Hananiah had predicted that the Jews would be freed in two years. This did not happen. Jeremiah, a true prophet of God, told the Israelites in Jerusalem 29:7 that the Jews should pray for the city in which they were exiled and THEN they would prosper! Verse 10 states that only after 70 years would they begin the return home. So, those who were adults at this time would never make it back home.
The lesson from Jeremiah 29 was that God could have a glorious and prosperous future for His children at any time and any place. He is not bound by circumstances. In God’s timeline, the exile was a necessary thing. God wanted His people to be content in Babylon.
Think on this, also. When God created Adam in Eden, did He know that Jesus would one day die for the sins of humanity? I believe that He did, He had to. He knows everything. More directly than God just knowing that it would happen, I dare say it was His plan all along for the spotless Lamb of God to die for wretches like myself.
In Genesis 5 we see the generations of Adam’s line through his son, Seth. The list goes as follows: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methusaleh, Lamech, and Noah. An informative list with a few names most of us recognize, but as is often true with the Bible, look a little deeper. Bring out your Hebrew thinking caps. Let’s illuminate this passage that we would typically read flippantly in order to get to the good stuff. I will type this list again, but with the Hebrew meanings of these names, instead of the names themselves. Here it comes…
Man, Appointed, Mortal, Sorrow, The Blessed God, Shall Come Down, Teaching, His Death shall Bring, The Despairing, Comfort.
Fill in the gaps just a tad…
Man is Appointed to Mortal Sorrow, but the Blessed God Shall Come Down, Teaching, and His Death shall Bring the Despairing ones Comfort.
It hardly sounds like the need for the Messiah is a coincidence or a “plan B” that God had just in case Adam blew it.
Now, there is some controversy over the meaning of these names, but it does not cheapen the outcome. God created man in the Garden, fully aware that said man (and woman) would falter. Man would then be worthy of death and eventually become acquainted with it.
God’s “plan A” would eradicate the penalty of sin for those who believe. As horrifying as the cross was, it was the means by which God would give you hope and a prosperous future.
It has become cliché for us as believers to remind one another that God’s plans and ways are not our own. But it is true. His timing is also unique to Him. Roughly 4,000 years passed from Adam’s transgression to the death of Jesus.
Trust God, trust Him in His plans, His means, and His timeline. It is His job to make plans and carry them out. It is your job to be content in Babylon.
Kevin Welborn is the pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. He is married and has two daughters. He loves his native Texas, sports, and exploring creation. The most famous person he has ever met is someone you have never heard of. You can contact Kevin on Twitter at @theKevinWelborn.