A Message of Comfort
Abba, I want to hear Your voice and know Your heart. I want to reflect Your heart to the world.
Read Jeremiah 29:1-14
 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.  (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)  He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:  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 good 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 on 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.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow has Jeremiah's message changed?
It’s 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, has laid siege to Jerusalem. The royal court, senior officials, and craftsmen have been taken into exile (2). The unthinkable has happened. Jeremiah’s repeated and unheeded warnings have been fulfilled. Everything has changed, including Jeremiah’s tone of voice. He writes a letter to the exiles, full of warmth, encouragement and positivity. You’re going to be there for several generations, so make the most of it and enjoy the experience. Seek the welfare of the city. This place inhabited by your enemies, the center of alien culture, has become your home. Be a blessing to the public life of the city. No need to panic, struggle to escape, or pray for deliverance. You are now safe in God’s strange purposes. Discerning God’s will for our lives may, at times, seem baffling. For our good, he will take us through experiences and places that are apparently hostile to us and yet in the center of his plan for us. This feels like a terrible paradox, but one that countless Christians have tasted in times of distress.
Ask God to help you to discern his will and trust his heart, even when the way is difficult.
Father, even when Your message is not what I expect, I want to hear You.
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