The people of Israel, after years of disobedience and ignoring the words of
God’s prophets, had been carried off into exile in Babylon. Some of the
exiles believed that God had forsaken them entirely, and that they were
now irreparably lost. Others were listening to the words of prophets who
were telling them—as they wanted to hear—that this was just a temporary
setback, and things would get back to normal very soon.
Jeremiah, however, had a word from God that was both comforting and
challenging. He spoke with the authority of one who cared for the people,
lived with integrity, and was totally submitted to God. His word was that
God had not abandoned them but was with them even in their exile. But it
was not to be a quick holiday—they would be away from their home for a
long time. So, he encouraged them to settle, to build lives for themselves
and their children, and to contribute to the prosperity of their new home.
Beneath it all was a promise—God’s desires to give God’s people a future
and a hope.
Authority is not the ability to lord it over others, but to serve them—as Jesus
did. One of the best ways to serve others, and to grow our integrity as we
do—is to develop a practice of loving prayer. Who needs a word of hope
and an assurance of God’s hopeful purpose in their lives? Pray for them
today – and perhaps be the voice of hope as well.
Teach me to bring hope to others by loving and serving them as you have
done for me, O Lord.