Today's devotion from Jeremiah 28 & 29.People who aren't even really familiar with the Bible have probably come across Jeremiah 29:11 more than once. They've likely seen it on a meme, or a t-shirt, or a mug. I have it in my office on a plaque that my mom gave to me shortly after entering the ministry. That verse speaks of God's plans for our lives. In it, God tells the Israelite who endure exile that He has not given them to this fate for their destruction, but for their benefit. This idea reinforces His previous promise to bless and be with those in Babylon. Yet, this verse is not as powerful when it is removed from the context of the chapter. Chapter 29 details a letter from Jeremiah to the deported leaders. Ultimately, the letter encourages them to live. Build houses, establish gardens, have families, and raise children. However, for me, one of the most profound thoughts is in verse 7 where we read, "Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive." (Jeremiah 29:7, CSB)
Now, consider what you don't see. You don't see an overt call to establish Babylon as a Jewish nation. Instead, they were to simply live faithfully in loving those around them and striving to see their communities thrive. I fear that this concept is lost on too many in our modern age. We live in a time in which people seem only to care about people or issues proportionate to what they can gain personally.
I wish I didn't have to write this, but I must. Yes, this principle should apply to believers in American today. Our goal is to glorify God. We bring Him glory by living faithfully where He has placed us. I may not be able to change the law of the land concerning social issues, but I can lead my home in a way that honors Christ. I may not be able to change the course of our nation, but I can faithfully share the gospel that can change the eternal trajectory of my neighbor's life.
We can envision how a different situation or circumstance might make our faith easier, but who is that going to help? How is that going to help? No. We must live faithfully. We must live by faith. Yes, even in divisive times like these.