Jeremiah 29:1-14 is addressed to people from Jerusalem who have already been deported to Babylon but before Jerusalem itself has been completely destroyed. These people want to escape. They want the exile to end and they want to get back home. Jeremiah write the letter in this chapter to set them straight. Surprisingly, he doesn’t tell them how to escape; instead he tells them how to endure. What do we do while we await the not-yet? What’s there to do in Babylon?
Jeremiah began his ministry as the dominant world power, the Assyrians, descended into civil war. As the Assyrians began to lose their power, Babylon and Egypt sought to occupy the power vacuum that the Assyrians would leave. In the midst of this political turmoil the Lord calls Jeremiah. His job is to predict and warn of the coming Babylonian invasion and the restoration that would follow the exile.
- The exile happened in three different deportations (see Chronology).
- The first deportation occurred about 605 BC after the Battle of Carchemish when Nebuchadnezzar defeated the combined forces of Assyria and Egypt. The prophet Daniel was in that group of exiles (Jeremiah 46:2; Daniel 1:1-7).
- The second deportation occurred about 598BC when Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took the prophet Ezekiel and about 10,o00 into exile (2 Kings 24:12-17; 2 Chronicles 36:6).
- The third and final deportation occurs in 588 BC when the Babylonian army leveled the entire city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:1-18).
- This letter is written to the people living in Babylon after the first and second deportation but before the destruction of Jerusalem. They want to escape the exile and return home.
Seek to endure, not escape
- Jeremiah tells them to endure the exile, not escape it.
- Essentially Jeremiah tells them to stop putting their lives on hold, accept the new normal and live out their calling.
- But his message is more than just endure a hard situation.
Hope in the promise
- Jeremiah 29:11 occurs in the context of enduring a long, hard exile.
- The Lord promises restoration and redemption but He takes his people through suffering, not around it.
- 1) Realize we too our in exile. As believers, this world is not our home (see also 1 Peter 1:1-13)
- 2) Settle in and endure the exile, seeking the Lord and fulfilling our calling
- 3) Trust and hope in the promises of God that He has plans to prosper you and bring you home.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Series: Questions Jeremiah Answered
Resources: Jeremiah Resources
Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.
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