Summary: We may be pilgrims in this world, but we are to set down deep roots while growing toward heaven.

Making the Most of Babylon

(Jeremiah 29:1-14)

1.This past week, Marylu and I were enjoying a lean pork tenderloin roast -- it was delicious. I thought to myself, "I am so glad I am a gentile."

2. According to WebMD,

"It appears that the use of the term "swine flu" has had quite an impact.

"The pork people say it’s hurting their industry because it’s misleading people into thinking that pork is bad. They have a point. You absolutely cannot get this virus … from eating pork.

But the damage has been done. Pork sales have apparently fallen by 80%. It bears repeating -- you CANNOT get this virus from eating any type of pork.

"The Israeli government has also said they would abandon the use of ’swine flu,’ so Jews would not have to use the term.

Then, the World Health Organization has said it will use "North American influenza" to note, as they have done in the past, the location of origin of a potential pandemic. And then you have the Mexican government saying that the virus actually got into their country from someone visiting from Asia, where most flu viruses typically originate."

3. God gave the Jews the Kosher Laws to distinguish them from the nations around them. He does the same with the Christian: God wants us to be different from the world.

Main Idea: We may be pilgrims in this world, but we are to set down deep roots while growing toward heaven.

A pilgrim lives in this world, so you are wise to--

I. Accept Your Lot: Make the Most of BABYLON (1-8)

"The historical situation of the chapter was that in 597 B.C., some three thousand Jews had been exiled with Jehoiachin, among them a number of priests and prophets along with the royal household. In Jerusalem, Jeremiah had heard that some exiled false prophets were predicting an early fall of Babylon and an early restoration of the exiles to Judah. Jeremiah’s letters warned the exiles against this deception and urged them to wait patiently for God’s time…The craftsmen and artisans were deported to help King Nebuchadnezzar beautify Babylon." [from Jeremiah: A Commentary by Charles L. Feinberg, Zondervan, pp. 195-196]

When King Nebuchadnezzar removed King Jehoiachin and took him to Babylon, he appointed Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, to be the King of Judah (but subservient to Nebuchadnezzar) in his place.

A. A CLEAR Communication (1-3)

This went directly to the top and was spread to the people; we see here the inter-relationship between the true prophets. Ezekiel was in Babylon with the deported Jewish royalty, artisans, and scholars. He confirmed Jeremiah’s message there, that Jerusalem would be destroyed.

Daniel was already there in Babylon, just getting established. Years later, Daniel wrote in Daniel 9:2, "in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."

Note how Daniel recognized Jeremiah’s words as "the Scriptures."

B. SETTLE and ARRANGE marriages (4-6)

1. Living as a separate community within a diverse population

2. The example of believers marrying believers…

I Corinthians 7:39, "A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?"

C. Be a BLESSING within your city (7) town, county, or neighborhood

The Talmud later enumerated community obligations: "A man must reside in a town thirty days to become liable for contributing to the soup kitchen, three months for the charity box, six months for the clothing fund, nine months for the burial fund, and twelve months for contributing to the repair of the town walls…" [Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra, Folio 8a]

1. Many Christians have taken the road of isolationism; they do nothing for their community, but take a reclusive stand; this is not good.

2. More have taken the route of assimilation; as a result, they embrace the thinking and values of popular society at large.

3. God’s way: participation without contamination or assimilation

4. Seek the "peace" of a city; some Jews had tried to rebel... more influence by building relationships and participating than through isolation; positive contributors have more influence than sideline critics.

5. How to participate? Here are a few possibilities: vote, read the paper, meet your neighbors, volunteer to serve in some way, patronize the library and other public facilities, attend or staff community music or drama events, sports events, attend some fairs or festivals, join clubs or organizations.

We may be pilgrims in this world, but we are to set down deep roots while growing toward heaven

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