Peace in Exile

Jeff Weinkauf


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. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:4-14)


Jeremiah 29 is well known for vs 11. Its the promise God gives that he has thought about us, and even made plans for us. I'm excited by that idea, that God considered my life and it's place in his plan. That it's not random or merely fate which brought me here today.

Just before 29:11 is a section (although not as well known) that I find interesting and equally comforting. God is speaking to his people in exile. They're held captive by Nebuchadnezzar and are far from all things familiar.

In spite of their circumstances God tells them there is still peace to be found. Build houses, plant gardens and eat what you grow, have your children get married. INCREASE don't decrease. Seek peace and prosperity and pray for good things to happen. Find the peace where you are.

Then, in time God says He'll restore what was taken, because He has plans for us.


Captivity usually suggests discomfort or times of recession. But here, God shows me that in His economy I can still find peace and even increase. I see that it's a proactive relationship too. I must do my part (build, plant, seek, pray). Then God acts both in the near term to honor my efforts, and then also in the long term to restore. I can seek peace and prosperity even while in exile.


God please help me to see and understand the difference between my part, and your part. Help me to build, plant, seek, pray and realize your plans for me. amen.

Devotions for August 22

Jeremiah 28,29,30
1 John 3

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