With all the crazy upheaval being thrown around in the news media today, the blame-throwing and the government shutdown, it\’s a good moment to truly take stock of things and gain perspective. Regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself as a believer, the reality is that we must live life through a biblical lens. Many of us may feel like we are walking through captivity in our own free country. But there is a biblical instruction that I believe we should heed, and allow it to supersede our feelings (refer again to the second sentence above!).
Jeremiah 29:4-7, gives us a few instructions I’ve highlighted them here… “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce…multiply there and do not decrease; 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.”
Israel and Judah were being placed in captivity after years of living the idolatrous lifestyle and walking around without true devotion to the Lord their God. They were to be living in lands where the people would be less than cordial and that\’s putting it mildly. God gave them instruction on how to live in their time of discipline that God had placed them in. This is the instruction that we can apply to ourselves as well. While it may not be a time of discipline in our lives as a nation (that all depends on your view…), it is a time to consider how we can play an influential role in our nation as it appears to be in turbulent times. What does this passage say? Be productive! The greatest measure of productivity, is not in the sowing and reaping, not in the building of homes and the expansion of families; it\’s in the prayer to the Lord on behalf of the city and seek the Lord for it\’s welfare! That is where the truth of our productivity is. I would in no way ever tell a person to remove themselves from active participation and concern for where we are going as a nation, but I would ask you to gain heavenly perspective. Prayer is the ultimate caring and consideration. We can all agree that our leaders need prayer! We as the people of God should be praying for our leaders in both the good times and the bad. Faithfulness to praying for the city, its leaders and welfare, causes God to respond in favor and welfare upon us. If we are seeking God for our leaders, God sees it as a sign of honoring, caring and respecting those that He has placed over us and in reality shows that we honor the God who placed them over us as well.
You know God felt this instruction was important enough that it bore repeating in the N.T. letter from Paul to Timothy. Read I Timothy 2:1-3 and consider that if it was good enough for Israel and good enough for the 1st century persecuted church, it is also good enough for the church of the 21st century too! The instructions Paul gave, were to a leader in a church that was dealing with a despotism that saw Christians as nothing more than street lights and in fact as punishment would hoist them on poles and light them on fire, burning them to death, in order to light the streets! We in the USA may not be experiencing that level of persecution but we know that believers around the world are experiencing many things akin to the church of the 1st Century. The bottom line is that God spoke to His people, the same encouragements during two different time periods of existence, His consistency in instruction tells us that God has never changed his position on caring for a city or its leaders.
Consider engaging the situation on our knees, before engaging it on social media…you might find welfare and tranquility.