O God, in all ages you have imparted yourself to man and set alight the fire of faith in his heart, grant to me the faith which comes from search. Cleanse my life from all that negates and crushes faith, and fill it with the purity and honest that foster it. Cleanse me from the evil which makes unbelief its friend, and drive it far from me, so that, being willing in all things to do your will, I man know the truth which shall set me free. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.- Samuel M. Shoemaker
Today’s Scripture Reading
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord.
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. 11 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. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land. -Jeremiah 29:4-14, NLT
Today’s Reflective Reading
God’s message to the Israelites exiled in Babylon is clear, “Plant, nurture your families, live, work, and thrive in Babylon- but do not forget you are my people, that I am your God, and that I have plans for you!”. God warns them to not get ensnared and lured in by the false prophets telling lies in the name of God. Instead they are to look for God wholeheartedly.
Our challenge is not much different. We are to search for God and follow his leading in our lives here in the 21st century. There are many attractive lies, some that even sound kind of “christian like”, we must earnestly seek the wisdom to discern what is God’s voice and what isn’t. Then we can enjoy plans and hope that God has for us.