Daily Devotion Friday June 30, 2017
“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says… “Build houses and settle down; gardens and eat what they produce… Also, seek 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.”
Jesus Christ has clearly defined his disciples by saying; “you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” And, again while praying to the Father, he said; “They are not of the world” (John 15:19; 17:16). These statements set the tone that although the disciples of Christ—Christians are living in this world, they do not belong to it, their citizenship is heavenly. Apostle Peter similarly refers to believers as foreigners and exiles (I Peter 2:11). The implication of this is that believers must not live meddling their lives in the ungodly affairs of this world. While referring to his audience as foreigners or exiles in this world, Peter writes;
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (I Peter 2:11-12).
However, Christians must not use this as an excuse to avoid involving themselves in the welfare of the respective countries where they are. Rather, all Christians must be actively involved in seeking for the welfare of their countries such that they equally enjoy the peace and prosperity of the country while yet here in this world. I have known of some Christians who simply are not bothered about the civil affairs of their countries. Some think it isn’t spiritual to be involved in civil events in this world because we are here only for a time. While others refuse to enrol their children for school or register for a national citizenship and not even seek for health services saying this are secular, they are none issues.
This was the kind of attitude some of the false prophets planted in to the Jewish exiles during the Babylonian captivity. For example, the false prophet Hananiah falsely proclaimed in the name of the LORD; “Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the LORD’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon. I will also bring back to this Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon” (Jer. 28:3-4).
This message reached the exiles in Babylon and instigated the people to relax in considering their welfare and the welfare of the city of Babylon. Jeremiah knew this was wrong and wrote a letter to encourage the people to make sure they engage in their welfare and pray for the prosperity of the city where they live as foreigners. The first part of Jeremiah’s letter reads;
4 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: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 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” (Jer. 29:4-7).
This message must encourage us to be actively involved in the welfare of the cities and countries where we live. That even though we are more or less foreigners or exiles, for one year or two or even seventy as it was with the Jewish exiles or several decades, we are here in this world. As such, we should be able to marry and establish families, study and acquire skills and values that we need to a productive life. In addition, Christians are civic members of their communities, who are eligible to offer themselves for political positions and be concerned about political decisions being made.
- Also read: In the World but not of the World
And, “Pray to the Lord on behalf of your city. Ask for great and good things to happen for the city. Ask that they happen by God’s power and for his glory. Never lose sight of the ultimate good that the city needs a thousand times more than it needs material prosperity. Christians care about all suffering — especially eternal suffering. That’s the greatest danger every city faces”
When Christians seek for the welfare of their cities or countries, several things might get in order. The good Christian values might make good political and civil leaders, the values we have if not compromised may help in choosing the best public leaders. Being light and salt of the world and of the cities and countries where we live should be able to add value to our communities only if we get involved in the affairs of our communities. So, I ask you my dear Christian brother and sister to work for the peace and prosperity of the city where the Lord God has placed you. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. Amen! Rev. J
 Piper, John. Seek Your Cities Good. Accessed from http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/seek-your-city-s-good
Buy the paper back or the kindle version of Julius’ popular book Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering or Pain? Be not Anxious, God is in Control. You can also sign up for and borrow the e-book from Amazon kindle unlimited and read for free. Have you been blessed by this message? Share it with friends, you may also consider donating to sustain this site. Thank you.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV). Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is a graduate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway. He is an author of the Popular Triumphing Over Odds . For pastoral assistance you can contact him here and you can also help to support this site and his ministry by donating here.