Jeremiah 25; 29
After 23 years of Jeremiah’s preaching, the people of Judah have not changed their ways. For years, God sent prophets calling his people to repent and turn away from their evil. Now, in response to their continued defiance, the Lord tells the people of Judah they will fall into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Not only that, but his prophecy is specific, noting that they will spend 70 years in exile in Babylon. After this period of exile, God will punish Babylon for their own sins against him.
Some time later, Jeremiah writes to the Jews who had been deported to Babylon. He reminds them of his earlier prophecy about the length of their exile. But then he does something unexpected. He tells the people to seek the well-being of Babylon and to pray for it. They are to make Babylon their home for as long as they are there. And then, when the time is up, God will restore them to the land of Israel.
While we are not Israel, there is much application we can take from Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles. The takeaway is this: wherever God has us planted, that is where we need to grow and thrive. We need to seek the well-being of the place God has put us. Jesus tells us that Christians are known by their love for one another (John 13:34-35), and this is what sets us apart. Likewise, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 to pray for our leaders, no matter who they are, so we can live a quiet life. This is essentially the same thing that Jeremiah told the exiles to do. It is also what we are to do as believers. We are to pray, love, and seek good wherever God has placed us.
Are you seeking the well-being of the city or town you’re living in?