(Recommended Reading – Jeremiah 29:1-14)
As I studied the book of Jeremiah, I learned that Jeremiah seemed to have been called to be a prophet of God at a young age. He apparently set out immediately to warn the Israelites of the impending doom as a result of the way they had chosen to live. They had turned their backs on God and embraced false gods for their worship. They were living lives of despicable behavior.
It stands to reason then that when they hear Jeremiah preach such negativity, they do not want to hear it or believe it. So, they turn to the many false prophets of that day to hear their favorable words – the words they prefer to believe.
At that time, things were actually going well for Judah, so to believe all the negative words from Jeremiah were just hard for them to swallow. It is difficult to understand that although everything is coming up roses and rainbows, that the drought is just around the corner – it is easier to just discount any negativity.
At one point there was what appeared to be a bit of a spiritual revival and King Josiah ordered that the temple be repaired and then the people renewed their covenant with the Lord. King Josiah was a great leader, but it is almost as though it was too little too late. The rebellion of the Israelites for three centuries had already set in motion the price they would have to pay. As prophecies began to be fulfilled against other rebellious nations, things change with the death of King Josiah and they begin that slide down the slippery slope once again.
As Babylon first begins to take captives from Judah, Jeremiah warns the people that there is more to come and tells them they will be in captivity for 70 years. As the invasion continues, Judah falls and most of the people have been taken to Babylon. Then Jeremiah, this man that has spoken doom for so many years, begins to speak words of encouragement to those captives and lets them know that their captors will pay a price for all they have done.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 (The Message) says: “This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage you children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that
country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.’” In other words – Bloom Where You Are Planted.
How many times do we experience things in our lives that make us uncomfortable and/or unhappy? Changes in our lives are a given. We can get upset about them, we can resist them – either of which can make us unhappy and feeling unsettled. I believe it is human nature to resist what we do not fully understand. But how much easier could we make it on ourselves if we would just settle into our situation, be as happy as we possibly can about it, pray about it and trust that all will work out for the best?
Jeremiah 29:10-11 (NLT) gives that hope – “This is what the Lord says: ‘You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” The
verses following that continue the encouragement.
We all need to determine that no matter what we see and experience, that as Christians, we can depend on God. If we will accept our lot in life, put down our roots and believe all is for the best in the end, we can be so much happier. Lean on Him, pray, stay faithful and just Bloom Where You Are Planted. When the time is right, He will transplant you to where He wants you to be and you can then flourish.
Written by Karran Martin – September 12, 2019