People love to quote Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." What they forget is that these words were written to the faithful remnant of Judah in captivity.
The Lord has told the people that they will remain captive to Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years. Seventy years! That's enough time for three generations to die. Grandchildren just born will be old when they are allowed to return to Judah. A ten-year-old boy led into captivity will be an old man of eighty with grandchildren and great-grandchildren before they are allowed to return to Judah.
In the meantime, God has told them to carry on the affairs of life, just as if they were in their homeland. They are to build houses, plant gardens, marry, and multiply. Much the same list of duties that He gave Adam in the original garden.
Oh, and one more thing, they are to seek the peace and prosperity of the city into which they have been exiled. They are to pray to the Lord for the city of their exile because if it prospers, they will prosper also.
If you are a child of God, you know that this earth is not your real home. You are here for a season only. Your real home is eternity. How fitting is this passage to where we are and what we need to do and pray for?
The parallel is clear. We are to carry on the affairs of life under the laws of God. We are to marry and multiply, we are to tend fields and wield His authority. Let us not miss what I consider one of the most important points. We are to pray for this world and the citizens thereof - whether they are Christian or not.
You see, God loves all the children He created. He would that all of them should come to a saving knowledge of His Son and the redemption work of the cross of Calvary.
Help us to see that our exile on earth is similar to the exile of Judah in Nebuchadnezzar's reign. Remind us that this is only a temporary home. Keep us faithful in prayer for this hurting world and ready our hearts to be united with You after our exile is finished.
In Jesus' most precious name.