“Grieving Jews in Exile”
Pastor David Moore
Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so ‘in-between’ things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe. ~Henri Nouwen
Theme: As Christians, how are we to live in a secular society, similar to Israel’s experience to living in Babylon?
Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 29:4-14
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 gracious 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 upon 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.”
Three options are in play of how Babylonians could treat Israel:
1. Drive the people from the land
2. Enslave the conquered people
3. Assimilate the people into a society
The option that is in play of how Israel could treat Babylonians while in captivity:
> Tribalism – to put up with the consequences and do all you can do to exploit your captors.
God’s plan for Israel and how to live, being a conquered people:
1. Multiply in numbers
2. Build houses and settle down
3. Seek peace and prosperity of all in the city
4. Pray for the good of the city
5. Love the city
The attitude of the people was to serve.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Augustine said that when we become followers of Jesus, suddenly, we have dual citizenship. The heavenly city and the earthly city. The citizens of the city of God on earth are the very best citizens in their earthly city. This applies to us today in these strange times. ~D. Moore
We believe in God, we believe God has a plan for the world, He is in the process of redeeming the world and we are to serve out of His Kingdom. ~D. Moore
Seek the peace of the city…and pray to the Lord for it. For in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:7
Whatever happens in our lives, in our community, we are exactly where God wants us to be, and have an influence and an impact for good in this time and place. We have dual citizenship and are to be part of God’s process of redeeming the world.
God bless, have a good week!