For Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you. Don’t listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them,” says Yahweh. For Yahweh says, “After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says Yahweh, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future. You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” says Yahweh, “and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says Yahweh. I will bring you again to the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.”
Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been violently ripped from your home and made a slave in a country that doesn’t speak your language and does everything differently? Then can you imagine what it would have been like to receive a letter directly from God like this? What a wonderful thing that would be don’t you think? God tells His people that He has “thoughts of peace, and not evil” toward them. That’s quite amazing considering the fact that they were being punished for their rebellion. God tells them in His letter that he wants to give them “hope and a future.” Then He lays out the plan. He intends to wait until they seek Him with all of their heart and then take them back out of their captivity and bring them back to their own land. He even tells them how long it will be. That’s quite a letter.
We have similar times in our lives. There are times when things are so confusing that we don’t really know what to expect tomorrow. Then God gives us hope. He helps us to see His hand in our lives and may even give us a clear vision for several years into the future. God loves us, even though we are sinners and His intention for mankind has been good since the very beginning as we have been reading for several years now.
There’s another important thing that we need to really pay attention to as believers. God can and does speak through dreams. Even in the New Testament, we see examples of this, but that does not mean that God speaks through all dreams. In this letter, God makes that clear. He warns His people that the dreams that the prophets are having there in Babylon are not to be trusted. They were having dreams but those dreams were simply their own. They weren’t from God. I believe that the Bible makes it clear that all truth that is not directly written in the Bible is to be carefully tested. Even good people can have dreams that are more related to stress or a meal that they ate before going to bed. There are even drug related dreams that unbelievers have that could be influenced by evil. We need to remember what God wrote in His letter to us:
1 John 4:1
Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.