James 5; Jeremiah 29-30; Psalm 133
“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NKJV)
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, did a lot of damage and took a lot of the people into Babylon. He installed a puppet king over Israel. It was a crazy, tumultuous time and the Jews were in great despair. Many expected to revolt, overthrow Nebuchadnezzar, and return to Jerusalem. There were prophets who prophesied falsely in God’s name that this would happen. Jeremiah reminded them that this exile was part of the punishment from God for their rebellion. Now that this had happened, he was unpopular among certain people in Jerusalem and Babylon because he prophesied that it would be 70 years before they returned, and in the meanwhile, he counseled them, based on God’s word to him, to dwell in Babylon and seek and pray for peace. Their peace would accompany peace for the city as a whole.
We say today that people should make the best of a bad situation. From a Christian perspective, we might say bloom where you’re planted and be a blessing to those around us. Not happy in your job? Find a way to bless others. Having family issues, find a way to bless the person you’re most at odds with. It’s not our circumstances that are important, it’s our reaction to those circumstances. It may be that God wants you to leave a bad situation, but what would happen if because you were a blessing, the situation improved. This doesn’t apply to situations that are an immediate danger to your life or health, of course, but there are many situations where showing and sharing God’s grace will be better for everyone.
Lord, give me Your wisdom and Your grace in every situation I’m in. Let me be a blessing to others no matter how bad the circumstances may be.