Yesterday, we learned about the exile of thousands of Jews to Babylon in the sixth century B.C., and we discussed how challenging it must have been for God’s people to suddenly find themselves in a pagan city that was a world away from their home. With their possessions plundered and life as they knew it torn from beneath them, they were upset, ready to revolt, and wondering what to do next. Thankfully, ever-true to His faithful nature, the Lord did not leave them directionless; instead, He gave an oracle to the prophet Jeremiah to share with the desperate, displaced population. Though he was still in Israel, God’s aged servant heard clearly from his Heavenly Father’s heart, and he sent an unexpected message to his countrymen in Babylon. While the exiles were anticipating divine permission to wage war, Jehovah’s plan for them was actually to do just the opposite. Rather than unsettling their new city, He encouraged them to settle in — to marry, have families, increase in number, and seek the welfare of their now-homeland. The accompanying promise was that if this pagan place prospered, so would they. Upon receiving these rather surprising instructions, the Lord sealed the deal by giving the exiles an assurance that’s familiar to nearly all of us today, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
My friend, though this season feels foreign to you, the Lord is in it, and He invites you to settle down and trust His goodness in new territory. While you would prefer for things to be the way they were in a time when life felt familiar and comfortable, God’s best for you is no longer there. Your Heavenly Father has gone ahead of you, and He beckons you to take His hand and walk by faith into your next chapter. Don’t fight the discomfort of unknown places or refuse to put down roots for lack of clarity. Instead, focus on the character of your Savior and trust His all-knowing heart of abundance to provide for you, even when things look dark.