Something new every day  

Posted by Rachel

God really smacked me in the face with TRUTH this morning, and from such a common Biblical location that I would have thought we'd have already been through this. Apparently not.

I've been continuing down this path of reading through the Bible chronologically, and that has brought me this week to Jeremiah and Daniel, since Jeremiah was the prophet who was present during the time when the Israelites were exiled to Babylon (AKA the time when Daniel was sent to Babylon and the whole lions' den thing happened). So I'm reading Jeremiah 29 this morning, already anticipating the verse (11) we all know to be a key verse in my reading, "For I know the plans I have for you..." Call me crazy, but somehow I have either never connected the two, or I have forgotten the connection, but those words were spoken by the Lord to the Israelites during their time of EXILE.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure most people don't like being exiled from their homes. The Israelites had just been forced to leave their home and go to captivity in Babylon, a place they were NOT familiar with or comfortable in at all. Putting myself in their shoes, I'm pretty sure I'd feel forgotten by the Lord...as if he wasn't present. I've felt that way at times in the past few months, so I can imagine this emotion pretty well. And then, God speaks. But he doesn't say, "Don't worry, I'll save you soon."

Read it for yourself:
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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. 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." Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD. 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. 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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Woah. Knock me off my feet (well, not literally, since I read this from the comfort of my couch and was already off my feet...). Not only does he not promise to make things right immediately, he pretty much says make the most of it. Build lives for yourselves. Settle in... you are going to be there for a while. 70 years to be exact. 70 years! And yet, he then still has the audacity to say, I know what I'm doing and I have great plans for you. Only, to see those plans, you have to stay put in this uncomfortable place for a while, and oh yeah...this place? It's a part of my big, great plan. Um, not exactly what the Israelites (or I!) were expecting, I bet.

God also made it clear they were not to be idle. There were things for them to do. They were not to lay down and wallow in their self pity and frustration. They were to LIVE LIFE in the midst of captivity, hardship and strife. And more importantly, they were to be calling on God and seeking his face. Even when he promised they'd eventually be led out of captivity, he still expected them to seek him and, in that way, hold up their end of the bargain.

Hmmm... that's good. I needed that today.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 at Thursday, July 16, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 comments

Thanks for the reminder. I needed to hear this, as well.

July 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Very encouraging today! Thank you!

July 16, 2009 at 3:44 PM

cool. Thanks Rachel!

July 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Insightful. Thanks for sharing. Especially the part of not being idle as we wait for our "70 years" to pass. Definitely need reminded of that. Thanks friend :)

July 16, 2009 at 11:31 PM

love this passage! i think seeking the peace and prosperity of the place where i have been 'exhiled' is the hardest thing in the world for me! i want out, but God says wait. so i wait - cause He's way smarter than me - always :)

July 21, 2009 at 4:20 PM

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