The Church has quoted Jeremiah for more than 2000 years. We especially love the verse 11 of chapter 29. “I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.”
What we don’t often understand is that God made this promise as His children were being prepared for 70 years in Babylonian captivity. They had been taken there because of their disobedience to Him. The 70 years were the accumulation of sabbath rest years which they had not observed.
While declaring that this captivity was not the end of their lives but part of God’s plan for the Children of Israel, God gives them specific instructions regarding the way his people were to conduct themselves during their time of captivity.
Build houses and settle in the land. Plant gardens and eat the food they grow. Get married and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons, and let your daughters be married so they also may have sons and daughters. Have many children in Babylon; don’t become fewer in number. Also do good things for the city where I sent you as captives. Pray to the Lord for the city where you are living, because if good things happen in the city, good things will happen to you also (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
There is little debate that we could be entering scary times. If we are entering hard times, we should be honest that part of this is judgment on us as a nation and on the Church. Yet, could this be a time of preparation for Christians?
I understand that Jewish historians say that it is during this 70 years of captivity that the Jewish people learned how to prosper and thrive. Thereby allowing them to survive during the 2000 years they have been dispersed from their homeland. Wherever Jews have been forced to live, they have seen prosperity. Even in the middle of persecution, they have been able to be rise like cream to the top of each barrel.
If we are wise, the children of God can prosper and help our cities and nation to become more effective. We may even be able to lead our nation back into the ways of God.