“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
The preceding verse is one many Christians know. It can be found on signs, the outside of coffee mugs, etc. But today I felt compelled to read from the beginning of Jeremiah 29 to verse 14. Go ahead and read it. You will see in the first verse that it was written to Israelites whom King Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Among those taken into exile was a well-known character of the Bible named Daniel (Daniel 1:6). You probably know him; the guy who was thrown into a den if lions and lived to tell about it. The Bible says that the Israelites were to be taught the literature and language of Babylon (Daniel 1:4). Babylon was described as a city of pride and idolatry. Basically, the Israelites were placed in an environment that was completely contrary to a life of God. What was interesting to me in these first couple of verse of Jeremiah 29 is that first it says “whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile” (v.1) and later says ““Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:” (v. 4). God sent them into exile, in a place that was against everything they believed.
As I progressed through Jeremiah 29 I learned that God tells the Israelites, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf…” (Jeremiah 29:7). The Israelites were commanded to pray for the welfare of Babylon, a pagan, prideful, anti-God society. Why? Well, verse 7 continues to say “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” It reminded me of Daniel and how he wouldn’t conform to Babylon, and still he rose through the ranks in Babylon.
I can’t help but think about how right now, God has placed me in a world that seems to be completely against Him, unspoken and outspoken. In Philippians 3:20 it says “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” and yet here I am. The Holy Spirit ministered to me through these verses and told me that as a follower of the One and Only Living God, His daughter, He has allowed me to live here and has a plan and purpose of welfare, hope and a future.
Father, it breaks my heart to see and hear people deny you in action and speech, the only One who can give them life. But I pray for their welfare. I am in this world with them, but not of it. Help me, God, to be the light here as Daniel was in Babylon. Help me to love as you love, and to live with your joy and peace. You have a plan and a purpose for me being part of this world, plans for a future and a hope. I know you work all things together for the good of those called according to your purpose. I am your daughter, and also your warrior whom you have commissioned into a place to wage war, not against flesh and blood, but evils & principalities of the enemy. Let me fight with LOVE, Father, and not the kind this world thinks is love, but with the love that sent Jesus Christ to the cross to die for those who rejected Him.
Today I pray for love and peace to abound, that your Holy Spirit would be given to me in a double portion and your love to overflow from me into those around me. Guide my every step, every action and every word. Give me a heart open to your word. In Jesus name I pray and it will be given because I was made right with you through the blood of my precious Jesus.