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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Jeremiah 29

Verses 11-13


Jeremiah 29:11-13. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

THE calamities which God inflicts upon mankind in this world are intended to bring them to repentance; and though he often removes his rod in anger, when he sees that it produces not the desired effect, yet he often continues to punish till he sees that the heart is humbled for its iniquity. Thus he dealt with the Jews whom he sent captive to Babylon. They at first despised his chastening, and promised themselves a speedy return to their native land: but he declared that their captivity should be protracted to the end of seventy years; and that, at the expiration of that time, when they should have learned to acknowledge him, he would again appear for them, and bring them back in answer to their fervent petitions. His declaration respecting this suggests to us two important observations:


God’s purposes of love and peace shall all in due time be accomplished—

God has “thoughts of peace” towards many who never think of him—
[Even before the foundation of the world God determined to remedy the evils which he foresaw sin would bring upon mankind. When our first parents were ruined, and fled from his face, he sought them out and communicated to them his gracious intentions relative to the substitution of his Son, in their stead. And while the Jews were imbruing their hands in the blood of his Son, it was his fixed purpose to pour down his Spirit upon them, and to bring them into a state of reconciliation with himself. And have we not also reason to confess, that whatever we either possess or hope for is the result of his purpose and grace which he purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began [Note: 2 Timothy 1:9.]? Yea, who can tell, but that, at this moment, some careless sinner is the object of his special attention, and that this is the very hour, wherein his merciful designs shall be matured and executed?]

These thoughts of his shall all in due season be accomplished—
[It may be a long time before his eternal counsels are manifested by visible and correspondent acts. But not one of his purposes shall ever be frustrated. Paul was “a chosen vessel unto him,” and “separated, in the Divine intentions, from his mother’s womb [Note: Acts 9:15.Galatians 1:15; Galatians 1:15.]: but how long was he suffered to go on in the most inveterate enmity against Christ and his Gospel! Yet when his hour was come, God stopped him in his mad career, and transformed a bitter persecutor into a zealous Apostle. Thus it was that Zaccheus also was made a partaker of Christ’s salvation, when he thought of nothing but gratifying a foolish curiosity [Note: Luke 19:4-5; Luke 19:9.]. And thus many of us also received our first serious impressions, when we were far enough from desiring to fear God. And it is a comfortable reflection, that many, who are yet dead in trespasses and sins, are in the Divine purpose “predestinated to the adoption of children [Note: Ephesians 1:5.],” and will one day be “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”]

Nor shall any expectations founded upon his word be ever disappointed—
[Improbable as the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon was, God brought them out at the appointed time. And as he gave “them an expected end,” so will he to all of us. If an ungodly man begin to look unto the Lord Jesus Christ for repentance and remission of sins, he shall not look to him in vain. If an afflicted or tempted soul flee to him for consolation and succour, the desired aid shall not be withheld. Provided only we rely on his word, and not on any presumptuous imaginations of our own, we may rest assured that he will interpose effectually on our behalf.]
But however fixed his purposes may be,


They must nevertheless be called forth by the exercise of fervent prayer—

God has appointed prayer as the means of obtaining his blessings—
[This is the universal voice of Scripture, “Ask, and ye shall have.” Even where God most freely promises his blessings, he still says, “Nevertheless I will be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them [Note: Ezekiel 36:37.].” We do not say that he never deviates from this method of conveying his mercies; for sometimes “he is found of them that sought him not, and known to them that inquired not after him [Note: Isaiah 65:1.]:” But the earnestness with which this duty of prayer is inculcated in the text, is of itself a sufficient proof that we are to expect no blessing without it. God would have us know, and feel our wants; and by opening them before him, get our own hearts affected with them. If at any time he vouchsafe his blessings to those who have not sought him, he instantly stirs them up to prayer, which is as necessary to the welfare of a regenerate soul, as breathing is to the existence of a new-born infant.]

Nor should a discovery of his purposes relax, but rather quicken, our diligence in prayer—
[This was the effect which was produced on Daniel as soon as ever he learned that the time fixed for Israel’s captivity was near its termination [Note: Daniel 9:2-4.]. Nor should it produce any other effect on us. As well might Hezekiah have declined the use of food because God had prolonged his life fifteen years, as we neglect the means of spiritual advancement, if we knew that God had predestinated us unto life. On the contrary, the certain prospect of success is our greatest encouragement to pray, and to comply with any terms which God has prescribed.]

If we use these means aright, we may be sure we shall attain whatsoever his unerring wisdom sees to be good for us—
[God has “never said to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain [Note: Isaiah 45:19.].”. On the contrary he will “hearken” to our cry with parental tenderness, he will discover to the inquiring soul the riches of his grace, and “enable us to comprehend with all saints the height and depth of his love which passeth knowledge.” But then we must pray in earnest and, “search for him with our whole heart [Note: Leviticus 26:40-41, Deuteronomy 4:29.]” It is not a mere listless petition that will prevail with him; we may ask and not have, if we thus ask amiss:” but importunate and believing prayer shall bring down every blessing which God himself is able to bestow.]

This subject will be found of peculiar use,

To humble the proud—

[Every natural man conceives that his salvation must arise solely from his own exertions. But here we are taught to trace all our inclination and ability for what is good to God, who, in the prosecution of his eternal purposes, imparts both the one and the other to our souls [Note: See also Eph 1:11 and Philippians 2:13.]. Let us learn, then, to acknowledge him in all that we have received, and to look to him for all that we want. And let the hope, that there may yet be in his heart many undiscovered thoughts of peace towards us, stimulate us to fervent prayer, and diligent exertions.]


To awaken the secure—

[Some will pervert the truths of God, and say that their exertions are useless, if God have not thoughts of peace towards them; and superfluous, if he have. But God’s decrees are no rule of action for us, seeing that they are hidden from us: it is his precepts, which we are to regard; and if we will not seek him according to his command, we can have no hope that we shall ever find him. Will any man then consign himself deliberately to perdition, because he does not absolutely know that God has “ordained him unto life?” Should we not justly blame a man who made the uncertainty of life a reason for refusing bodily sustenance? yet he would act as rationally as the other. Let this then be known; the man that lives without God, will die without hope; and, when he perishes, he must accuse, not the hidden purposes of God, but his own folly, sloth, and negligence.]


To comfort the feeble-minded—

[Some, who are diligent in the use of means, are apt to perplex themselves with doubts respecting the Divine decrees. But they have within themselves the very best answer to all their doubts: let them only ask themselves, Whence arose my desires after God? Whence is it that I am enabled to seek him in any measure? The snare will then instantly be broken: for, the aid they have already received from God, is a far better ground for concluding that he has designs of peace towards them, than any remaining imperfections can be, of his purpose to reject them. Only then wait upon God in prayer, and rest assured that a praying soul can never perish. Continue to ask, and you shall have; for however secret his purposes may be, his promises are plain and sure: and he says, “Ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.”]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.