The Plans I Have For You draws from talks that he has given at his local church, sermons which Alan reworked as studies from the word of God that can be read, rather than merely listened to. The subject matter covers a range of topics from both Old and the New Testament, but the message of God’s Love and His Grace shines through it all. It is an unchanging message, as God is unchanging and it is a message that men and women today need to hear in a world that is uncertain and often, to many, frightening.
Here is an extract from Alan Batchelors’ book:
Chapter One – The Plans I Have For You
The message that God had for the people of Judah tells us much about the character of God. We are reminded of God’s love for his people as he reminds them of their first love for him.
Jeremiah 2:2,3 The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “’I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’” declares the LORD.
God had a plan of prosperity for his people, yet they rejected it to go their own way.
Jeremiah 2:7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
And the lord questions why.
Jeremiah 2:5 “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me?”
Jeremiah 2:21 “I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?”
Jeremiah 2;31 “Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more’?”
I’m sure you remember in Revelation the letter to the church in Ephesus:
Revelation 2:4,5 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Chapter two of the book of Jeremiah records some of the ways in which they have turned away from God. And the words of Jeremiah reflect the heartache of God for the people who have turned away from him. God reveals to Jeremiah some of the hurt that he feels towards his people. Even the example of the exile of the Northern Kingdom of Israel did nothing to stir the hearts of the people of Judah:
Jeremiah 3:6-10 “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD.
And here’s a remarkable statement:
Jeremiah 3:11 “The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.”
Yet God’s love is such that if they will turn away from their iniquity and turn back to Him, He is merciful and is willing to forgive and restore. The God whose word Jeremiah proclaims is a god of boundless grace and compassion.
Written by Alan Batchelor