- God’s Disappointing Word to Exiles Read Jeremiah 29:1-9,
This is the
text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the
prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the
leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)
the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom
Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
This is what
the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
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.
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."
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.
prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the
In the time of
Jeremiah there were two “super” powers, Babylon in the east and Egypt in the southwest. Judah was invaded several times by both. After Babylon defeated Egypt in 605 BC, Judah became a vassal of Babylon.
family and all the leading families were rounded up and taken to Babylon: the nobles, officials, skilled workers, artisans,
officers and soldiers, priests, prophets and elders. They were not sold into
slavery. The king was imprisoned, but the others were given land upon which
to build houses. They were free to work and prosper. They just could not
return to Jerusalem.
into captivity longed for release, to return home to Jerusalem. To these exiles Jeremiah sent a letter, which was
entrusted to Elasah and Gemariah, who carried it 500 miles to Babylon. Jeremiah’s letter was not one of comfort. On the
contrary, the exiles were encouraged to adapt to their new situation.
Returning home soon was not God’s plan.
Adjusting to a
new country where people speak a different language and have different social
customs is difficult. Jeremiah wrote to the captives in
Babylon to tell them (29:4-23) that it was God’s will that stay there only added to the
strain the exiles felt, but they must have thought that God had abandoned them.
He was instructing them to
move ahead with their lives and to pray for the pagan nation that enslaved
them. Life cannot grind to a halt during troubled times. In an unpleasant or
distressing situation, we must adjust and keep moving. You may find it difficult
to pray for that in authority if they are evil, but that is when your prayers
are most needed (1 Timothy 2:1, 2). When you enter times of trouble or sudden
change, pray rather than giving up because of fear and uncertainty.
the exiles not to listen to the religious leaders who were trying to
encourage them by saying God would soon deliver them. This was the opposite
of God’s plan for them. As the people trusted God, He brought them through
the hardships and their faith in God grew stronger. Once they did return to Jerusalem, never again did they turn to other gods for help. They
trusted only the God who delivered them.
- God’s Plan for the Future: Je. 29:10-14
10. in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will
the way may be opened for me to come to you.
I long to see you so that
I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—12. that is, that you and I may be mutually
encouraged by each other's faith. 13. I do not
want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you
(but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have
a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14, I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and
Seventy years was a lifetime for most of
the exiles. God’s plan for
deliverance was for the corporate group, not just for selected individuals.
His promise to return them to Judah gave them encouragement and hope for the future. Once
again when they prayed He would answer. Those who sought Him would find Him.
God watched over them even in a far off country like Babylon.
Does God have a plan for each of our lives? Yes, He does. His plan is to
redeem us from sin through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus the
Messiah, and thus to give us eternal life. This is also a corporate plan for
all who turn to Him for salvation.
We are free to make decisions.
Sometimes God makes clear His guidance. Other times He is silent. He trusts
us to make good decisions and is willing to work with us in the paths we
choose. Even in the difficult times of life, when He seems distant, God still
cares for His children. His plan is to bring them home.
C. Conclusion: Christians must be fully engaged in
today’s world in active obedience to
anticipating heaven and/or Christ’s return in the future,
because the past generation
thought largely future is
of neglect of
We must have a complete
confidence in God’s ability to guide our life path.
A. 上帝對被攎者之失望書信: 請讀耶利米書29:1-9,
- 信上說、萬軍之耶和華以色列的 神、對一切被擄去的、就是我使他們從耶路撒冷被擄到巴比倫的人、如此說、
- 萬軍之耶和華以色列的 神如此說、不要被你們中間的先知和占卜的誘惑、也不要聽信自己所作的夢．
在耶利米的時期，有兩個 “特級” 強力國, 東邊是巴比倫和西南邊的埃及. 猶大國被這兩國侵犯多次。 巴比倫擊敗埃及於605 BC以後, 猶大國成了 巴比倫的奴隸。
王室全家和所有的上等家庭全被補捉送到巴比倫：貴族們、 官員們、 技術人員們、警官們和軍人們、牧師們、先知們和長老們、他們不被賣為奴隸，王被關在監獄，但其他的得地可蓋房，他們可自由工作並繁榮，但他們不准回耶路撒冷。
那些被扣押要常時間才能解放回耶路撒冷。對於那些流亡國外的耶路撒冷人就派任Elasah 和 Gemariah兩人送500 英哩的路的信到巴比倫去.。耶利米的信並不使人舒暢。相反的， 流亡們被鼓勵去適應他們的新環境， 回去家園並不是上帝的計劃。
B. 上帝對未來的計劃: 耶利米書29:10-14,
10. 在禱告之間、常常懇求、或者照 神的旨意、終能得平坦的道路往你們那裡去。
14. 無論是希利尼人、化外人、聰明人、愚拙人、我都欠他們的債 。