Citizenship Lessons for Aliens from Jeremiah 29
God’s people, under divine disciple, are in exile in Babylon. False prophets were building false hope in the people by promising a quick return to Jerusalem, but God said it will be 70 years (vs. 8-10). Thinking they will not be there long, they are tempted to not unpack their bags or be involved in the nation God has placed them. The letter the LORD directs Jeremiah to write to these exiles has many good reminders and encouragements for us aliens, too (see 1 Peter 1:1, 13-17; 2:9-17; Romans 13:1-8; Titus 2:1-10).
The Context: vs. 1 “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon… 4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:”
· Who took responsibility for their exile (& return vs. 10)? Why?
· Who is sovereign over our circumstances (Is. 40; Ps. 73; 103)?
The Commands: vs. 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens. . .
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…
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."
· Wherever God plants you, don’t refuse to bloom. LIVE!
· A life of waiting to live is hardly a life ( 1 Tim. 2:1-6; Titus 3:1-8).
· God’s people are to be the best of citizens, seeking good for those around them (Babylonians) – for their sakes & our own (Matt. 5).
Vs. 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
"Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you.”
· It is tempting to believe the easier, more favorable “word from God.”
· “Ear ticklers” abound & are loved & sought (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:1-5).
Vs. 10 "…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..." (NIV)
· The LORD will fulfill His promises. Trust Him & His word (Ps. 37).
· The LORD has great plans for His people, even when under His disciple (Heb. 12). He’s a forgiving, restoring Savior (2 Chron. 7:14)
· When under disciple, we should seek His face all the more.
· Rest in God, knowing that He knows & He cares (Is. 40:9-11, 27-31)
2 Chronicles 7:14 - “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)