As these days warrant us to quarantine, what we were accustomed to and how we were accustomed to living has changed. So, we must ask ourselves, how now shall we live?
In Jeremiah 29, he has written a letter to the people who have now found themselves in such a circumstance of calamity and captivity. All the people are suffering from the circumstances and Jeremiah addresses the people in a letter. He gives the message that God has spoken to him and said that the people have committed two wrongs: (1)they have forsaken God, and (2)the people have replaced God with themselves. As the people grapple with the devastation of their situation Jeremiah writes a letter to say regardless of the actions of the world this is how you must now live.
Wherever we are, we must make the best of where we are.
Jeremiah 29: 4-6 – “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: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 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.”
The letter expressing the word of God says these are the things we must do:
In our current situation we are uncertain of what tomorrow brings, or when and if things will return to normal. The charge of settling down is requesting us to stop worrying and simply begin to increase where you are. As the scripture says, build houses, create gardens, have children, do things that will create a legacy.
Strive for Peace
He charges us to strive for peace. The Hebrew word for peace is Shilom. It is often used as a greeting in passing, but the meaning of Shilom has even more depth. The word itself means safety, welfare, health, and prosperity. In this greeting of peace, one is translating much more. The scripture (Jeremiah 29:7) is charging us to seek peace right where we are. We are instructed to pray and intercede on behalf of the people, for here you will find peace.
Shut Out False Voices
(Jeremiah 29:8-9) This scripture warns us that “Every voice that is speaking is not speaking for God.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
We have the ability to guard our hearts and minds. We should ensure that we are not building our lives around the voices of deceit or even the dreams of our own minds. As we remain confined to our homes at these times, much of what we had access to before is changing. Perhaps we are unable to visit and converse, or encounter others as we had and fill our lives with the variety we may have been accustomed to. We must evaluate what we have access to now, and the stimuli that comes to us and the influence that has on our hearts and minds, and even our own dreams, guarding ourselves from false voices.
Seek the Lord
Lastly, Jeremiah charges the people to seek the Lord, regardless of the situation. (Jeremiah 29:10-14) indicates that God knows the thoughts He has for us are those of peace and hope, not evil. It is up to us to call upon Him and pray to Him, and He will be waiting, listening, ready to lend His ear. The charge to seek the Lord is admonishing us to do so with all of our heart as He is ready to receive us, listen to us, and hear our prayers. By this He will be found, but we must seek with all of our heart. It speaks to the fact no matter the situation we can and should still have a relationship with God, and seek Him to converse, to pray to and have Him be present as that relationship continues to grow even in the challenges of life. God promises to listen, to bring us out of captivity and turn us back to something even better than we knew before. In the scripture, He says ‘I will collect you and assemble you together again. I will deliver you to a place I caused you to be carried from.’
God reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11 – “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.” The message is that even in circumstances that feel like captivity, God has a plan to bring you out and give you hope.
In closing the Word must be our anchor to the soul. While we are sequestered, we must settle down where we are, maximize our time and make our requests known to God. Strive for peace and pray for the peace of the land, not just for what we need, but we must also pray for the whole. Shut out the false voices and seek the Lord. In seeking the Lord, we will be sure to find Him, for He will return us and gather us from this captivity.