The Story – Jeremiah 29 – A Desire to Escape At any Cost – There they were, thousands of Jews in captivity. This was a physical captivity but it affected their life – spiritually and emotionally, too. Their reality in life felt like a prison, something they did not want and were not used to. Could they have wanted a way out so bad that their only possible escape route was to believe ‘positive press?’ Positive press meaning exiled false prophets who were quick on the draw to prophesy…positive things, a way out, or an escape clause.
“You my dear friends, will be released soon and a breakthrough is coming. Can’ you see? There is a fall coming – the fall of Babylon and you, you, you all will be restored to all that is pleasant in Jerusalem. Keep focused on moving out. It will happen before long.”
In the midst of this positive affirmation, Jeremiah comes along and simply says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. He has not forgotten you. Settle into your current circumstance, yet focus on God, His goodness to you, His faithfulness. He sees you all and knows your condition BUT you are not going anywhere yet.”
Two conflicting messages. Of course, the Jews wanted to believe that which was more positive, encouraging, uplifting. I mean, who wants to face suffering, pain and trial, right? But, then again, isn’t life a kaleidoscope, constantly changing, moving, shifting often beyond our understanding and just out of our reach to change anything. That can be very frustrating.
Jeremiah was a prophet. He loved God and he loved the people of God. Sent with a challenging message for the times, he burned with a fire within to speak the truth. There was no other option. Yet, he faced a false narrative being spoken all around him by a group of false prophets who were prophesying only good things. Two conflicting messages, for sure.
“Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well–being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you. (Jeremiah 29:5-7 Message)
Jeremiah keeps speaking.
This is God ‘s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out––plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:10-11 Message)
Jeremiah keeps saying, “God loves you. He has not forgotten you but my children; you just have to stay put for a bit for this is God’s will for you. Don’t fight me on this. I know what I am saying. As much as you would love to move, change places, just BE somewhere else…just BE where I have planted you, for a season.”
Jeremiah’s words rang true outside of abounding clichés. His words rang with truth, in love, but truth nonetheless. The clichés spoken by the exiled prophets of the day can only hold water for a while and then they show to be without power.
Jeremiah was speaking truth. I can only believe he was thinking something like this. “Don’t look at circumstances. Know that God IS faithful in all things and in all ways. Don’t make god in an image that is manageable. Sometimes, my children, things don’t go the way that you think they should go. Just be still and know God IN this situation, not out of it. There is great learning to be had in this place and great wisdom to be had. Be still.”
We do not like to hear that, today or any day. It is hard to stay in a place of suffering let alone to allow the Lord to use that suffering for His glory. What to do? That is the next blog post. Think about this okay?