6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But 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 find your welfare. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.
The first 15 years of my life were spent moving and changing schools. My dad was in the US Navy and he was transferred quite a few times during those years. Since my dad was a ‘lifer,’ not moving wasn’t an option. We had to move. All the places we moved to were unfamiliar to us as a family, but especially to my parents. During all these moves, I never recall them arguing about where we lived, how good or bad it was, or anything like that. There are some things I do remember. The journey to our new home was one of visiting sites along the way. And, when we arrived, we’d find a church home and begin seeing the sites, planting a garden, and making friends. Mom and dad chose to flourish.
The Israelites apparently didn’t do things this way. They had ‘prophets’ telling them a different message than God’s message. They were telling them what they wanted to hear. As I imagine their situation, I can sense their frustration. They’re being told one thing and experiencing another. Then a letter from Jeremiah arrives.
The message from God through his true prophet was one of flourishing. They shouldn’t listen to the ‘prophets’ and their wrong message. They should listen to Jeremiah and his God-given message. God instructed them to sink their roots down, multiplying their numbers through marriage. They were to ‘seek the welfare’ where they were, which is sometimes translated as ‘peace and prosperity.’ If they did what God asked, working for the peace and prosperity of their new home, they’d experience flourishing, too.
We all live somewhere. The places we live have issues and needs and aren’t flourishing as they could. By using your local municipalities website, research the issues being dealt with and pray for them. And, as you are praying for them, ask God how you can be used by him in this renewal of your own city or town. You can use the list below to start your prayer and renewal search.
Littleton – https://www.littletongov.org/
Englewood – http://www.englewoodco.gov/
Aurora – https://www.auroragov.org/
Parker – http://www.parkeronline.org/
Castle Rock – https://www.crgov.com/
Centennial – http://www.centennialco.gov/
Highlands Ranch – https://highlandsranch.org/government/
(Since Highlands Ranch isn’t a typical municipality, try https://www.douglas.co.us/)
By Rich Obrecht