Study from God’s Word… Jeremiah 24: 1 – 10; Jer. 29: 1-32; Jer. 27: 1-22; Jer. 28: 1-17 … Passage for Reflection: Jeremiah 29: 4 – 7 … NIV 4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."
My Journal for Today: A lot was happening to and with God’s people, Judah, as they were taken into Babylonian captivity by Nebuchanezzar in Jeremiah’s day. There were false prophets, like Hananiah, who spoke out with lies that God would break the yoke of Nebuchanezzar within two years; and ultimately that lie was exposed by God through Jeremiah; and any false prophet who trumpeted falsehoods such as these were brought down by God. And though the people didn’t want to hear what God said through Jeremiah, he continued to speak the truth of God to His people.
Today we read of advice which had to have been a hard pill to take for the Judeans in captivity. God was telling them to fold into the Babylonian culture, to become productive, to multiply, and above all, to pray to God; and those who followed these commands, which were given to God’s people in Babylon by Jeremiah, would be brought back to their promised land. But they were, going to have to wait for 70 years to see these prophesies come to fruition; and there were those false prophets, like I cited above about Hananiah, who were spouting lies which the people would rather hear, saying that God was going to break the yoke of Babylon in two years. Two years verses seventy years; … and as you might imagine, many would rather go with the “two year” choice.
But those who listened and believed Jeremiah, especially his promises in a well-worn truthful prophesy of Jeremiah 29: 10-14, would be rewarded for their faith. You may know that passage well, especially verse 11 [underlined]: 10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.
And God did take His people back to Jerusalem after 70 years, where we know, from history that God had the Temple rebuilt. We read about it in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. But how does that help us, via application, today? Well, it helps us extract hope from these stories from history, where God prophesied and those of faith were liberated and given the promises of God. And we, who are surrounded by lies and captive in a “Babylon” of sin today, should take heart that God has asked us to stick in there, have faith, live under the rigors of an evil world, and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY to God for His favor. That’s the ever prevalent promise of 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 - linked; isn’t it?
I’ll leave it to you as to what to believe and what to do as aliens, alienated in an evil world. But to paraphrase a famous Jewish leader, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” [see Joshua 24: 14-15 – linked]
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know that You will never leave those of us who believe in Your promises. Amen