Friday, May 18, 2012

The Plans I Have For You (Jeremiah 29)

Another one of my songs posted to The Scripture to Music Collective online this week!

"The Plans I Have For You" - a song based on Jeremiah 29:1-14.  We are all familiar with the beloved verse, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord..." (29:11), which is the most well-known (though not the only familiar verse!) in this chapter.  It has graced the cover of many a religious greeting card, and has been the well-meaning source of a lot of misguided spiritual advice.

The problem is that this verse is almost always taken completely out of context.  Many have taken it to mean "follow God's plan for your life and nothing bad will happen to you," or, "God will make sure your life is good and hunky-dory," or simply, "your future is bright!" (a la many a graduation card handed out this month).  However, these understandings of the verse lose sight of the fact that is comes from a letter written from the prophet Jeremiah, sharing God's word of hope to the people of Israel while they are living in exile.  They have been captured, enslaved, carried away from their precious promised land; everything and almost everyone they knew and loved back home was destroyed.  Life had not worked out the way they had expected it to--certainly not anything resembling "hunky-dory."  In the midst of these horrendous circumstances, Jeremiah's letter is not a cozy sentiment but a radical challenge to hope and to live in light of God's unfailing goodness.  It probably never occurred to them that God could still have plans for them, even in exile.  God's call is for them to build houses, plant gardens, seek God's peace (shalom, wholeness) even for their captors and enemies, and to keep seeking after the Lord their God ... for he will be found!

This song was my attempt to set this familiar, beloved verse in its context by capturing an overview of Jeremiah's whole letter to the exiles, and to frame this promise with the many other difficult but hope-filled commands and encouragements that are present in the surrounding verses.

Check out the leadsheet (lyrics and chords) I've uploaded to googledocs, and listen to the song on the Scripture to Music page (which also has lyrics posted) or on my SoundCloud page.  Please pass these links along to others and share the song with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.  Thanks!

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