Saturday, May 13, 2023

Jeremiah 29:7

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.

Scripture Insights

The exiles of God’s people who are forcibly removed to Babylon must be surprised by this word from the Lord. Most have probably settled into fear and bitterness due to the uncomfortable changes their new circumstances have provided, surrounded by a pagan culture that is dismissive of their faith and hostile to their values. They are a long way from the “good ol’ days” of Jerusalem, where their values shaped the culture.

It would have been easy for God’s people to resent their marginalization and disengage from their new community, no doubt believing God would encourage such action. Instead, through the prophet’s letter, the Lord says to look outward instead of turning inward—to seek Babylon’s peace and prosperity, to pray for the city, without succumbing to its values and sins.

Like Jesus praying for God’s people living in the midst of the hostile Roman Empire, perhaps Jeremiah is calling the people of God to be in the world but not of the world (see John 17:15–16), blessing neighbors and bringing kingdom- of-God values to bear on our community.

Today’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, do not take us out of the world, but protect us from the evil one. Sanctify us so we can remain in the world without becoming of the world, enabling others to believe in you through our message and unity.

Prayer Journal Reflections

Reflect on blessing our communities in the church in Canada and the United States.

—Mark Lindstrom
District Superintendent, North Arkansas

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