Devotional Jeremiah 29:5-7
Pastor Brian’s “Every So Often” Devotional
November 28, 2012
(Jeremiah 29:5-7) Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
As the Babylonian Empire tightened the screws on Israel, the nation of God’s people, many so-called prophets in Israel began to declare that God was going to deliver Israel and crush the power of Babylon. Only Jeremiah was urging the people to accept this discipline as from the hand of God – that the Lord was using the Babylonians to bring pressure on Israel to turn away from their false gods (gods of privilege, prosperity and sexuality) and return to the true and living God who had brought them into this good land.
Jeremiah then writes a letter to those of Israel who had already been carried away captive to Babylon basically telling them to remember that God is in control of their situation, that He has a plan for their future, and that they have an opportunity to serve right where they are: in Babylon! Captive to a nation steeped in idolatry, they can bear testimony to God’s goodness and graciousness.
Often times we as Christ-followers look around at this fallen world earnestly groaning for our redemption. We see idolatry all around us, including in the church among God’s people, and even in our own lives, where we personally have succumbed to the lure of the flesh and the world. It can sometimes drive us so crazy that we lash out at the world around us instead of looking up to the Lord who loves us and asking Him how we should respond. In the midst of a sinful society, and in the midst of our own struggle, we can seek the glory of God and the good of others. We can live life in a fashion that honors the Lord; we can pray for our communities and our nation, and we can seek its peace. In a divided country, what better opportunity for believers to be known as peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)? Even as we feel sometimes as if we are in captivity, perhaps we can seek the Lord to see how we can be a blessing to the community around us.