SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT: ENDURING
In our series Seek Peace and Pursue It, we turn to one of the most difficult times for the Jewish people. In 587 BC the city of Jerusalem was besieged and eventually conquered by the Babylonian empire. Many of the leaders were exiled to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem. These people could not believe what was happening to them. Their lives had been completely uprooted. They were living in a strange land, and they desperately wanted to return home! The Word of the Lord came to them through the prophet Jeremiah, and it was not what they wanted to hear. They were thinking this was a bad dream and it would be over soon. God’s Word told them to settle in, get ready for the long haul, and pray for the peace of Babylon! More than that, God had a plan to prosper them exactly where they were, but they did not want to see it! We find ourselves in similar circumstances, but the Word that came through Jeremiah still speaks to us. In the sermon, Enduring, we find that peace is not disconnected or random, but it is a part of God’s plan to give us the strength to make it through our circumstances! We pray that you will find the peace of our living God as you read Jeremiah 29:4-13: 4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.