By Veronica Martin Thomas (M.Div. ’07)
The prophet Jeremiah’s letter to the people of Jerusalem who had been carried away captive to Babylon is recorded in Jeremiah 29:4-9. He assures them that he wrote in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Jeremiah was but the scribe. It would be comfortable to them in their captivity to hear that God is the Lord of hosts, able to help and deliver them, and he is the God of Israel still in covenant with his people.
If God caused them to be carried away captives, they might be sure that he neither did them any wrong nor meant them any harm. If they live in the fear of God, what should hinder them but they may live comfortably in Babylon? They did not worry themselves with fears of intolerable hardships in their captivity. God directed them to seek the good of the country where they were captives to pray for it, to endeavor to promote it.
This prohibited them from attempting anything against the public peace while they were subjects to the King of Babylon. They lived quiet and peaceable lives under the King of Babylon, in all godliness and honesty, not plotting to shake off his yoke, but patiently leaving it to God in due time to work deliverance for them. They were instructed by God to settle down, lead constructive lives and try to be on good terms with the authorities. They were not to rebel or instigate revolt but just settle down and be law-abiding citizens.
As it was with Judah, so be it with us, believers, be assured God has a hand in every outcome of our lives. We must do as Jeremiah instructed Judah to move ahead with our lives and to pray whether times are good or times are bad. Life cannot grind to a halt during troubled times. In an unpleasant or distressing situation, we must adjust and keep moving. When we enter times of trouble or sudden change, we must pray diligently and move ahead, doing whatever we can rather than giving up because of fear and uncertainty.
In all conditions of life, it is our wisdom and duty to make the best of what God has provided for us. If the earth be the Lord’s, then wherever a child of God goes he does not go off his Father’s ground. God knows the plans he has for us…Trust in the Lord and not our current situation. Let us respond to the Word of God. “Amen, so be it.”