Israel was destroyed by the unbelieving Babylon. Babylon killed their people, raped their women, burned their cities as God’s disciplinary move for their sins…But God sent a message: “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 29:7. How can they serve a city that destroyed them? Why will they bless their enemies as overseas foreign workers? Here are four reasons:
I. Identify your Caller “I have sent you as exile…” (7a)
Serve the Babylonians because God sent you there. Bitter against these abusers? God has all the reasons to be bitter but He still stays. Bored, disappointed or angry towards the people whom you serve or work with? The ultimate foundation why we should press on serving people is the calling of God. Think that God sent you there to serve. He wants you to shine His light where you are because that’s what He really wants. He has purpose for you there. Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. 1 Corinthians 7:20
II. Improve “…seek the welfare…” (7b)
God calls His people to improve Babylon. He calls them to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.” (v.5) Do the “normal things”.. Live like a native. Participate in progress. Innovate. Bless Babylon, but do not assimilate in marriage nor listen to their magicians.
We know from the story of Daniel that Israelites became governors of the provinces of the King later on. God called them to serve in the political, government and economic fields. It was His Will.
III. Intercede “…pray to the Lord on its behalf…”(7c)
One of the greatest acts of serving is praying. He calls his people to pray for the Babylonians- to pray for the butchers, murderers, abusers of their people. I believe He wants them to pray for their salvation too- that the Babylonians will know the True and Living God- and reject Ishtar as a false god. This was answered. Later on, King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians knew Daniel’s God. Pray for your city. Pray for the president. Intercede for your country.
IV. Include “…for in its welfare you will find your welfare…” (7d)
As they serve the foreign city, they invite God’s blessings upon them. Serving your city is a sign of loving yourself. “love your neighbor as yourself.” The Creator is aware of our inclination to self-improvement. Is seeking profit for yourself wrong? Is improving one’s self wrong? Self-interest is in God-s agenda here- God knows and wants his people to seek welfare for themselves, not for their own glory but His- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… You will seek me and find me” (v.11)
The believing Israel is a metaphor of Christians. Like Israel, Christians were called as exiles in this Babylonish world (1 Peter 2:11).
We are called to not love the present world, because the world is hostile or enmity to Him. Nevertheless, we are called to seek the welfare of the city, to work on the welfare of the enemies, so our neighboring Babylonians will be attracted to know and love our King.
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Article Updated: June 29, 2017