The Book of Jeremiah Series
Rebellion, Return, and, Restoration
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
As you read Jeremiah, be patient because the language and tone are a little heavy. But as you read, keep Jeremiah 29:11 in the back of your mind always: God has plans for you.
This is a vital scripture to know and memorize when reading and interpreting the scriptures for yourself because it reveals the Father’s heart for his children. Jeremiah 29:11 is an essential scripture “filter” as we grow and mature as Christians. This loving verse transforms our destructive cycle of sin into a spiritual process of transformation. This cycle/process is “Rebellion, Return, and Restoration.”
“Rebellion” is a part of the human condition most forcibly expressed in our young adult years. Rebellion is almost a rite of passage. As children and adolescents, we rebel to establish our independence and our individual identity from our parents. There are varying degrees of rebellion, but any parent knows that there is an expression of rebellion that is more than a young buck flaring his bravado. There is a rebellion that is defiant, antagonistic, dangerous, and at its core, can be self destructive. This rebellion breaks the hearts of parents (and God) because we know that there are heavy consequences and bondage when a child chooses the sin of rebellion. The writings of Jeremiah express this grief and heartbreak because he knows that God’s people have committed this sin of rebellion, and it’s beyond repair. God’s people who have made it to the “promised land” are headed back into captivity, back to bondage, back to slavery, this time in Babylon.
“Returning” is also an important part of the human story. Returning home can be a mix of emotions. Nostalgia is positive; it’s very important that we know where we come from. For some, the return can be painful, reminding us of past hurts. For others, it brings joy, while for some, the experience can be humiliating. If returning home for the holidays ignites anxiety in you, I want to make a fundamental distinction, returning “home to the Lord” is the safest thing you can ever do. The prodigal sons and daughters are always welcome to return home.
“Restoration” is in the heart of our Father. Restoration is why God sent his only Son. Jesus came to restore us back to God, to restore our worth and identity, and to restore our inheritance of the Promised Land; all of it. When children rebel, we take away their privileges (toys, friends, tv, internet, phones, etc.). When they return to their senses, we slowly restore their toys. The heart of a good parent is also full restoration, and we would be bad parents if we held back our children’s inheritance out of spite of a past rebellion. The purpose of Biblical discipline is not to be vindictive; the purpose of the discipline is to restore absolutely everything back to its’ original intended fullness.
Pastor Joshua & Meko Kapchinsky