Impressions from the Word- Jeremiah 29

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (29.7)

God’s people are charged to intercede for peace and blessing on where they live and who rules over them (1 Timothy 2.1-4). Whether here we should read exiles in a city or exiles on earth I’m unsure, but regardless I think the principle is the same: seek peace and well-being for all people. How, if at all, should we translate this into our democratic state? If we can do more than prayer for welfare should we? If nothing else we should certainly be concerned with the welfare of our state, since we are told that that is where our welfare is found.

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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (29.11-14)

God has plans for his people (elect? I believe so; Romans 8.28). His plans will work to enact our reconciliation. That which God has planned he will effect, since notice that no preconditions are given. This is such a beautiful promise and has such far reaching implications if we view it in light of our salvation. God has people (unconditional election) and plans for his people which will give them reconciliation without merit (irresistible grace).

Thus, unless God means to save all people then we must face a dilemma, either God’s Word’s fail or all are not forgiven. I can’t help but go for the latter. But if this is the case then I feel we must be careful in throwing around verse 11. We have no reason to believe God will work to the wholeness of those not called by his name and yet we act like this passage is a universal blessing and declaration of God’s desire and plan for all men.

I believe our theology must be large enough to incorporate a God whose wrath still rests on some, and we should never let ourselves slip into the complacency of believing that God is just some pie-in-the-sky bestower of universal benediction. We need to see a God who always presents himself as a purposeful and unconquerable redeemer, who works all things for good for his people, though not necessarily all people.

One Response to “Impressions from the Word- Jeremiah 29”

  1. Keith Walters Says:

    I love this chapter, and not simply because everyones “life verse” seems to be there. God has exiled His people, this is an act of punshment, and then the chapter explodes with amazing promises and commands. It is not merely that God has sent His people out of the promised land but he hassent them into Babylon, which was not a nice place (hmmm thats interesting). Not only that but looking at verses 7 and 11 one begins to notice that Israel’s prosperity is caught up with the prosperity of Babylon. I think this is an amazing example of God’s sovereignty, nothing is happening by chance God is bringing His plans to completion. In all of this we see that God has exiled His rebellious people, Israel, and sent them into a rebellious city, Babylon, so that He can prosper them both. Are our cities prospering? How can we seek the shalom of our cities?

    Todd I love these promises and am wondering what insights you may have as to how evangelicals in North America can better seek the shalom of our cities rather than being viewed as religous parasites?

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