In the Rebelution Cafe, we ended up discussing Piper’s views that he stated regarding hermeneutics and subjective interpretation of the Bible. Because of some of the comments made, I thought that it might help to clarify in a little way what I think he might have been trying to get across (albeit in a condensed way).
Let us take 2 Tim. 4:13 first, then I will apply this method to Jeremiah 29:10-13, as was requested by one person.
2 Timothy 4:13 The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring [with thee,] and the books, [but] especially the parchments.
This is very obviously a specific request for a specific person, and neither of these specific attributes apply to us: we are not Timothy, and there is no longer a cloak in Troas, no longer a Carpus, and Paul definitely does not need it anymore. But that does not mean that we can glean nothing from this verse! It just means that, as I said above in my article, we need to broaden the principle until the relevant context matches with ours. Here is an entire sermon by Spurgeon on this passage that is a great example of how to do this.
Now for Jeremiah 29:10-13.
Jeremiah 29:10-13 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11 For 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.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me,] when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Now, obviously, we are not the kingdom of Israel, we are not in Babylon or even being prepared to be sent there, we are not in physical captivity, and we are not even in the Old Testament covenant. So, you might think that it has no application to us, but it does, and it has a marvelous lesson.
Deuteronomy 30:2-5 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If [any] of thine be driven out unto the outmost [parts] of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
That is a snippet of God’s promise to the nation of Israel. It is actually a prophecy of what Jeremiah was talking about. It is a promise for God to not forget His chosen nation, even during their rebellion, and will still hear and help them if they repent and turn to Him. Even in the midst of their punishments, He would hearken to them and save them. This is what God was reiterating in Jeremiah.
But how to apply it to ourselves? We have the same promise, made by God to us as His adopted children, that even in our chastening, He heareth us, and He will lead us to liberty and victory. Even when we fail Him, He still loves and cares, and He will lead us out as we repent.
But that might have more or less to do with us depending on our situation. But if we do not fit into that category, we can broaden the principle: God cares for His children, and He will do so no matter what they or anybody else does. He will guide and protect them from harm that is outside of His plan for them, and He will not forsake them. I think that would apply to all of us.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
With joy and peace in Christ,