Exile and Prosperity

Text: Jeremiah 29:1-14

Jeremiah prophesied for forty years or so – the judgement is coming, a day of the Lord is at hand. But there were a large number of prophets in the land. The larger bunch of them with that title shouted peace! prosperity! And they had the better share of the argument for most of that time. Jeremiah even lashes out at the Lord Jeremiah 20:7 – “O LORD, you have deceived me…I have become a laughingstock all the day.” It would be hard to fault Jeremiah for sending a “Ha, I told you so” letter. That is not what he sends. He tells the exiles to make a life in their new land – build, marry and grow larger. Pray for the welfare of Babylon because its welfare is yours. He does get in his digs, but not in a snotty way. He just tells the exiles to not be decieved by the “prophets” among them – they are not from the Lord. And He leaves them with a promise from God – “In 70 years I will bring you back. I have plans for you.”

Do we find ourselves in exile in a strange land? Has everythign that we have known seemingly been pulled out from under us? God’s answer is not opposition or withdrawl or nostalgia. God says stay engaged and pray. He has plans for his people. God always has plans for His people. That promise given was to those exiles specifically, but it does take on broader views. “I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have driven you.” Those Israelites were in Babylon. The church is spread throughout all nations. God has a plan for His people.