Seek the Peace & Prosperity of our City: Jeremiah 29:4-7

Today is our Annual Fundraising Dinner and our theme for this year is, “seeking the peace and prosperity of our city.” To honor our theme, today’s post will be over this passage: Jeremiah 29:4-7.

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.”

This passage was written to encourage the exiles to make the most of their situation instead of believing the false prophets telling them their exile would be a short time period. In verse 10, the Lord says that they will be in Babylon for 70 years, so they might as well make themselves at home there!

We’re not exiles, but we’re still in a temporary earthly home, waiting for the Kingdom to come. This can sometimes make us feel discontent, longing for a better life, not wanting to endure any current suffering. Since we weren’t made to stay in our earthly home forever, it can seem like we’re out of place and that we don’t belong. This may makes us want to shrink into our own bubble of fellow believers, trying to stay in our comfort zones until we make it through this life.

God calls us to a higher way of living though, to fully integrate into where we live now. We are to become a part of the fabric of where we live, praying and seeking what’s best for it, making the most of our time there. May our deepest hope be that those we live among will see how we live and ultimately accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, reconciling them to God.

How we are expected to live in this world is also reflected by Peter when he was writing to encourage persecuted believers in Asia Minor:

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority, whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:11-17

May we live this way today.