I just finished the book of Jeremiah in my personal devotions. It is a tough book to read – it is long and sad and gut-wrenching and really long (did I mention that?) – but several things really stood out as I read. Jeremiah lived in a time where wrong philosophies and lousy politics were coming to fruition. It was a time of inflation and immorality. Their world was literally falling apart as the armies of Babylon besieged and destroyed the cities; killed thousands of the inhabitants of the land, and enslaved the rest.
It struck me that we are living in similar times! Wrong philosophies are nothing new. The Apostle Paul warned the first century church about them in Ephesians 4:17 and Colossians 2:8. Lousy politics are nothing new either! That line needs no explanation. Inflation and immorality are issues in our day – especially the latter one. There are wars (Russia and the Ukraine and the Middle East). There are rumors of war. Truth is ridiculed. Logic seems to be almost non-existent. The old saying, there is nothing new under the sun, really is true!
So what do we do? Consider Jeremiah 29:4-7:
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon: build ye houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughter; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”
Here is what we can do:
- Remember that God is still in charge.
Jeremiah reminded them that God was at work and accomplishing His purpose! God is on the throne of the universe and He does “sit in the heavens” (see Psalm 2). “The heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord “(Proverbs 21:1) and “the Lord HAS prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom [DOES] rule over all” (Psalm 103:19) (emphasis mine). He has given man dominion on the earth, but He is always at work to accomplish his purpose and plan. Rejoice in that! Believe it. Rest in it. God is still in charge! He is good. He is at work. He is able!
- Get to work and make a living.
Jeremiah reminded them that they still had to make a living and they needed to get to work. Build houses. Plant gardens. Prepare for the future so they could eat. What a great reminder for us! We may not know all of the political answers but we most certainly can get to work and make a living. We can pay our bills and prepare for our future and save and live! Keep working hard and keep living your life. What a simple and profound truth.
- Win at home.
I particularly love this one (after all we do host the “Keeping it Young Podcast – Conversations about Marriage, Family, and Minstry Life!). Jeremiah told them to win at home! “Get married,” was his challenge. While the rest of the world is falling apart, have a family and raise them well. Prepare them for marriage and teach them the importance of their home and family. Teach them to have children of their own and to raise them well too. When we win at home, life is worth living no matter what happens in the world around us! Let’s never forget that. And while we are at it, we might as well raise some to be great leaders. Our world could certainly use some of those!
- Work at impacting your world for righteousness.
Jeremiah reminded his generation to “seek the peace of the city” where they found themselves. Could we not do the same? We can pray for peace. We can work for peace. We can win souls and build churches. We can run for public office and stand for righteousness. We can work to pass righteous laws. We can shine as lights in this crooked and perverse world by living the truths of God’s Word (see Philippians 2:15-16). Will it be easy? Not likely. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. When the world around us enjoys peace, we will too!
Be encouraged, my friends. Be busy too. This is a time to advance the kingdom of God!
Thanks for reading.