Sermons

Summary: A continuing study in Jeremiah

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Sermon Preached by Rev. Larry C. Brincefield on November 7, 2004

Title: Instructions for the Exiles

Text: Jeremiah 29:4-14

Introduction

1. Last week, we looked at Jeremiah 24 and the 2 baskets of figs…

The good figs represented the people who were obedient to God…

And willingly allowed themselves to be carried into captivity.

The bad figs were those people who escaped to Egypt or otherwise avoided capture.

These people were disobedient to God’s plan for their lives…

And as such, they would suffer the consequences of their disobedience.

2. Chapter 29 contains a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the exiles….

This letter contained instructions and guidance about how they were to conduct themselves during their exile.

And in fact, there are 5 specific things that God tells the people of Judah in this letter…

Let’s stand together as we read it.

Read Text: Jeremiah 29:4-14

Body

1. Prepare for the long haul. Vv. 4-6

A. I’m sure that the people of the exile were discouraged…

They were depressed…

They were homesick…

They missed their homes…

Their temple…

Their fellow countrymen who had avoided capture…

I’m sure they were hoping that this captivity would be over quickly…

In fact, there were some prophets who directly contradicted Jeremiah’s prophesy by saying that the captivity would be short…(more about that later)

B. Even now, after the people refused to repent

And return to God…God still reached out to them…

Via this letter from Jeremiah…

And through Jeremiah, God was giving the people guidance and instruction about how to conduct themselves during the exile.

C. Jeremiah’s letter starts out by saying:

Build houses…settled down…

Plant gardens…eat what they produce…

Have your sons and daughters marry…

Increase in number…

In other words, this isn’t going to be a short captivity…

You are in it for the long haul…

Make the best of it.

D. When difficulties arise…

Instead of allowing our lives come to a screeching halt…

We must find our strength in God…

And find a way to move forward….

To continue to live a fruitful and vital life.

2. Pray for those in authority over you. V. 7

A. God also instructs them to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you”…

I’m sure that this instruction would have been directly contrary to their human nature…

People love to be free…

I’m sure that these people would have wanted to buck under the authority of the Babylonians…

They would have wanted to sabotage them…

Try to escape…

Try to create trouble and disruption and anarchy…

But God wants them to do just the opposite…

Seek the peace…

Seek the prosperity of that city…

Not only that, but “pray to the Lord” for that city…

Here in Jeremiah, we find the first admonition in the Bible to pray for your enemies…

This is the same message that Christ preached in the Sermon on the Mount: You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor[1] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[2] and pray for those who persecute you

3. Do not be led astray vv. 8-9

A. The 3rd instruction from God in this letter is “Don’t be deceived”…


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