A Message for Exiles
Holy Spirit, I thank You that Your presence within me enables me to choose truth, and to live a life pleasing to You.
Consider: "The sure sign that we have an authentic relationship with God is that we believe more in the future than in the past. God's best for our lives begins with a vibrant hope for the future" (Lloyd John Ogilvie). Jeremiah would confirm that (11)!
Many Jews were carried away to Babylon as captives. What fate awaited them there? What should they do? Jeremiah received special favor and was offered a comfortable life in Babylon, but he chose to remain with the remnant in Judea (40:4-6). He then wrote to the miserable exiles in Babylon to warn and encourage them. He warned of the ever-present false prophets who continued to mislead with their lies and dreams. They were promising quick, easy remedies--that God would reverse the situation in a day or two. On the contrary, Jeremiah revealed God's Word--they would remain in Babylon for 70 years, after which God would act to bring them back to Jerusalem (10).
God knew what he was doing. At the right time, according to his plans, he would act and restore his people. They would return to God and his land. Therefore, instead of being misled, the exiles should settle down in Babylon and "increase in number" (6). They should also "seek the peace and prosperity of the city" (7). The peace and prosperity of Babylon will be used by God to protect his people until the time he would act in a big way. This was not a time for foolish ideas of rebellion or escape.
In many ways, Christians are exiles in this world (1 Pet. 2:11). False teachers will give all kinds of ideas to reverse the situation. In the church in Thessalonica there were some who taught that since Christ's second coming was very near, there was no need to work for a living. Paul debunked such ideas (1 Thess. 4:11). Only God can reverse the situation. Meanwhile, we must continue to work and live "so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders" (1 Thess. 4:12). Trust God to keep his promises.
Christians may feel like exiles in a foreign land. Reflect on the temptations that exiles face and how they should live to glorify God. Apply this to your own life.
Lord, my trust is in You. My hope is in You. Grant me courage as I face the future.
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