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Jeremiah 29:1-7

Delightfully Displaced

  • Jason Wilkinson
  • August 26, 2018

We want to be in one ideal spot in life, but there are times when it feels like we have been barred from it or are being kept from reaching a destination that will make us happy or feel secure.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Delightfully Displaced

Jeremiah 29:1-7

Introduction

Hello, everyone! My name is Jason Wilkinson. I just completed my first year on staff here at Calvary Chapel Worship Center as the Director of High School and Young Adult Ministries. I love the ages of people with which I get to participate in ministry with. It’s a fascinating age where an incredible amount of development takes place! I remember getting serious about my faith while in middle school and I know a large number of believers can look back at their teenage years and 20s as being an important time in finding and growing in their faith. So, I consider myself blessed to be on staff at Calvary participating in the Kingdom work that is taking place here.

Opening Illustration – Highway 217 on the Birth Certificate

oIt was a terrible and helpless feeling of not being in control…of not being where I thought we should have been.

We want to be in one ideal spot in life, but there are times when it feels like we have been barred from it or are being kept from reaching a destination that will make us happy or feel secure.

We All Live in Exile

oBeing in exile is painful. It’s emotionally painful to realize that you don’t have a place to live or to call your own. A person is shuttled from one place to the next without a home or a place to settle down. It can be lonely. Exile can be demoralizing. . It can feel hopeless – and this is especially true for the Jewish people if we consider that the identity of the Israelites was so tightly tied to the land, which was the promise of God – the Promised Land. We see God make a promise of land to Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21), Isaac (Gen. 26:3) and Jacob (Gen. 28:13).Without this promised land, and without the temple in which to worship, who were the Israelites? Who was their God? The Israelites longed for Jerusalem just has much as I longed for a hospital when Isabel decided to show up. How are they to go about living now in exile?

Context

At the time of this message from Jeremiah, Jerusalem had already been invaded by the Babylonians once and some Jews were deported in 597 B.C.E. Jeremiah had been prophesying that Judah would be fall under Babylonian rule for the next 70 years. Another person claiming to be a prophet, Hananiah, proclaimed that Babylon would crumble within two years in Jeremiah 28. He stated that all those who lived in exile would return and the plunder taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion would also be returned. Hananiah influenced those in exile to camp outside of the Babylonian cities and not to participate in life with them.

Hananiah’s message was one that would have “tickled the ears” of nationalistic Jews who wished for a continued sovereign kingdom of Israel. This would have been the kind of news that those in power would have wanted to hear.

Jeremiah’s message was quite different. He spoke more to it being in the best interest for Judah to peaceably submit to the Babylonian army, that God’s judgement was coming in the form of foreign occupation.

What we have here is something of a “dueling prophets” taking place, with two different people claiming to be hearing from God and delivering two very different messages. How to discern which is delivering the true message of God?

Jeremiah points out that, ultimately, time will tell as to which prophet was truly hearing from God. Turns out, Jeremiah was correct in his prophesy, thus also proving that God was using him as his mouthpiece.

Not only that, but Jeremiah let Hananiah know that God was going to remove him from the face of the earth from preaching rebellion from the Lord. Hananiah died seven months later.

Jeremiah 29:1-7

God Will Use Whomever God Will Use However God Wills

  • Vs. 4 – states that God carried the people into exile, while verse one says that King Nebuchadnezzar was the one responsible for this work. Is the text in disagreement with itself? No. It is simply demonstrating that God used Nebuchadnezzar as a vehicle or agent to complete God’s work.
  • Being a Blessing Will Cost Something

  • There are imperatives all around. Build, take, plant, marry, seek, pray. These people had just been torn away from their homes. Babylon is the one who defiled their homeland, killed their kin, ripped the Jewish people away from the Promise of God, yet Jeremiah is calling for the people to do something very counterintuitive. Much like Nineveh was to the Jewish people during the story of Jonah, a threat and despised enemy to any nationalistic endeavor, Babylon is now. While Jonah was bitter and angry at the thought of proclaiming repentance to the Ninevites, Jeremiah’s attitude is quite different. Rather than harbor bitterness or anger, rather than ratchet up hostility, he calls for Israel to seek the…
  • Bring About the Joy of Prosperity, Even While Enduring the Pain of Exile

    • vs. 7 – peace & prosperity – אֶת־שְׁלוֹם – shalom - This is a deeply meaningful word. It means to reach completeness, safety, wholeness, contentment, satisfaction. It is a state of overall contentment with life.
      • Self-seeking is to the benefit of one person – me. Seeking the prosperity of others, that is of benefit to the community.
      • Acts 16:16-40 - Paul and Silas are in a miserable condition. They have been beaten. They are in prison. Yet, rather than being so bitter at the situation and circumstances that they are completely unable to see outside of themselves, they demonstrate a desire to “will the good” for the prison guard. We could say that Paul and Silas are “delightfully displaced.” And the jailer and his entire household are blessed from that experience. He invites Paul and Silas into his home and shares a meal with them and the text says he was filled with joy because he and his household had come to know the Lord.
      • Genesis 45:5 - Joseph was thrown into a cistern and sold into slavery by his brothers, yet instead of remaining bitter at them and desiring revenge, Joseph was able to see God’s greater purpose and forgive them when he rose to great power in the Egyptian government.He could have had them put to death, but instead provided for them.
      • Acts 8 - After Stephen was stoned to death in Jerusalem in Acts 7, the early believers of Christ scatter for safety. Yet we are told that even while running for their lives, they “preached the word wherever they went.”And the apostle Philip is aware enough, despite the tragedy of Stephen’s death, that he is open to the Spirit’s guiding him to preach in Samaria.
    • Even while exiled and on the run…how were all these people, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, able to see outside of themselves and to “will the good” for others despite their own circumstances? How are they able to be “delightfully displaced?”
      • True shalom, true peace, true wholeness and contentment can only come to us from the Father above.
        • Jesus Christ offers peace and prosperity to a broken world by offering up forgiveness for our sins, even while he was enduring the pain of a heavenly exile. It is because of Christ’s power of resurrection that we no longer need to be afraid of death of this life, for there is another that is to come.
        • Because of his exile, Jesus gives us the great opportunity to be bearers of his peace even to those whom we disagree with.
    • God’s intention was that the Jews would be blessed by being a blessing. We are now called to be the bearers of shalom in our world…to will the good for others…to be “delightfully displaced.” If we want there to be shalom in our homes, then we are the ones that are called to first carry that shalom. If we want there to be shalom in our schools, then we are the ones who are called to bring shalom. My friends, you and I are the bearers of shalom.
    • Talking to a teacher at a local high school earlier this week, I learned that 35 students admitted to having some type of suicide ideation with some attempts taking place last year. 75% of those students suffer from severe anxiety and depression. This is a prime opportunity to be bearers of God’s shalom. We may not agree with everything that is taking place at our public schools or with everything that students are being taught, but that does not change the fact that students need us to show up and be present.
      • Care for that tyrannical boss at your place of employment. Work hard as a demonstration of your “willing the good.”
      • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or convalescent home. Seek the peace and prosperity for those who are otherwise forgotten or outcasted by society. You don’t have to agree with someone’s drug addiction to serve him a meal.
    • Be wise in whom you are listening to. There are many voices speaking to us in our world today. Many of those voices say that we should rage against the people, political parties or anything that oppose our values or our desires. Hananiah delivered that type of message. Sit outside the walls. Do not enter in to the city. God will destroy those heathen Babylonians. Jeremiah is not saying that the Israelites should willingly take up the Babylonian culture or to forget the God to whom they belong, but instead to seek peace and prosperity for all. Two different voices with two different messages. Jesus Christ allows us to follow one that offers peace no matter the circumstances.
    • Seek the peace and prosperity for all. God is calling his people to bring about the joy of prosperity, even while enduring the pain of exile. Let us be a people who are “delightfully displaced.” 

    Jeremiah 29:1-7     NASB

    1 Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying, 4 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 'Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.'


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