Blog In Audio:
As leaders we must lead people with expectations of life even in the midst of difficult times. We have a great example in God’s word in the testimony of Jeremiah’s prophetic word concerning the captivity of Israel in Babylon. God did not expect the captivity of Babylon to stop His people from being His people. His hope was that His people would become seekers of His presence in the midst of their world. We must know that our present expectations must be that God is good in all things, even when things don’t appear to be good. God’s thoughts for us are thoughts of a future and a hope and not of despair. His promise is that nothing can separate us from His love. Because of His love, we can expect to find our future and hope in Him at all times. Our future and hope can include the appointment of destined deliverances, but His future and hope can also be found in the midst of what we might consider to be lesser times of freedom. I am not saying that our day is meant to be a day of lesser freedom, I am simply saying that all situations and all times are spaces of time to reveal God’s glory in increasing ways.
Jeremiah 29:4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord. 10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
God told the children of Israel to seek the peace of the city of their captivity. They were to pray to the Lord for it. It would be that in its peace, they would have peace. We do not find our hope in the world around us, but God intends for the circumstances of our habitations to be places that serve us well. Like the children of Israel, He wants us to raise families, build houses and dwell in them, and to live our lives for the glory of God in all things. God has a future for us that is brighter than today, but even today God is still our God. We must put our trust in God and pray that God’s favor in our lives will bring peace to the world around us. For this reason, we must pray for our communities, our regions, and our countries of dwelling in this world. We are the salt of the world and the light of the world. God doesn’t want to destroy the world around us, He wants our presence in our world to bring life to the world. Do we know the life of the kingdom of God that is within us? It is the life of the kingdom of God within us that offers hope to the world around us. We can expect God’s good word in our day. We can expect that God will bring His blessings. It is a time to seek God with all our hearts and it is time to pray for His peace in our places of dwelling. The nations are called to serve God, God is not called to serve them. The earth desires to provide for the sons and daughters of God, but we must live, move, and have our being as sons and daughters of God with an expectation that our heavenly Father is good.
It is God’s will for there to be peace in our world because of us. It is God’s will for us to pray for the prosperity of our communities that we might prosper in their prosperity. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is the blessings of life in every measure. Our true peace is in God, but because we have peace with God we can expect that there will be a natural influence in our world because God is in our lives. God desires to make a way for us to be provided for in all situations. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah didn’t seek to escape their captivity. They sought to serve God with their whole hearts in the midst of their captivity. They also served the king of Babylon in integrity and honor. They did not compromise in their faith, but they did seek to live in honor while they were in Babylon. Our focus should always be upon building and dwelling, sowing and reaping, marriages, families, and the furtherance of relationships in all things. Our plan should always be a multigenerational plan. Our thoughts should be thoughts of good and not evil. They should be thoughts of expectation that encourage our hearts and minds to know that God is working all things for our good. We have a future and a hope because of God’s great love.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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