The Israelites were living in exile...like we are. The world isn't our home. It is full of darkness, pride, selfishness, corruption. But, we seek to escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires and live for Jesus. As we do this, we seek to prosper our city, to pray for it, to live in such a way that the city and its people benefit. This tragedy has spurred me on to urgent prayer for Tucson, but God has also used it to convict me of the fact that I should be praying with fervor and urgency consistently. I hope and pray that we do not experience grief as a city like this again, but I know that God's sovereign plan will be accomplished even through the evil intent of a murderer. Take time to read the passage below and ask God to remind and teach you about living as a passionate exile, one who seeks to prosper the city you live in to the glory of God and for the sake of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Jeremiah 29:4-14 The Message
This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel's God, to all the exiles I've taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5"Build houses and make yourselves at home. "Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. 6"Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you'll thrive in that country and not waste away. 7"Make yourselves at home there and work for the country's welfare. "Pray for Babylon's well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you."8-9Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel's God: "Don't let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don't pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They're a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me." God's Decree!10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.