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Today as one of our readings, we look at Jeremiah 29: 1-7:
These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jeremiah is such an interesting prophet. He is also often called the weeping prophet because so many words in his prophecy are so painful. He is also the author of the Book of Lamentations, which are just that, they are a book of Lament for the destruction of Jerusalem. The people have sinned against God, they had broken the covenant, they had done wrong. And now, because of that, they will be taken away into Babylon as a great and shameful punishment.
Today is a letter written to these exiles, these ones taken away. What are they told to do while in exile? Work for the good of the city. Yes, they are in exile. Yes, they are away from home. Yes, they are even being punished for what they have done. They will be away for a while. But, while away, work for good where they are. Work the welfare of where they are. Seek to make it a better place, for the welfare of that city is also where they will find their welfare.
Even though they are in exile, they are to work for the good of their city.
This is a great word for us. While we are in exile here upon the earth, the Bible does tell us that we are strangers and aliens here upon the earth. This earth is not our home. We are just passing through. This world is not our true home.
But while here, work for good. The welfare of this city is our welfare as well. The city, state, and nation that we are a part of needs us. We are to work for the good of our city. Yes, this is not our true home and yes we don’t need to get too comfortable here. But while we are here, we are work for good. God is the God of heaven, and God is the God of earth. There is much good to be done here. Much work to be done for the kingdom. Much work to be done for His glory.
Keep your eye upon heaven, your true home. But work for the good of your city. Work for the good of your schools. Your neighborhood. Your community. Everywhere you are. Work for the good of the places what we find ourselves.
In doing that, we benefit ourselves, yes. But we benefit the folks all around us. And as they see the lengths we will go to to help them, to show them kindness, they will see the lengths our God will go to show them kindness.
Work for the good of the city today. Do good. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. Work for the good of your city. And give all the glory to God.
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