Rise Daily: April 22
THIS WEEK’S THEME & PASSAGE
Serving the City – Jeremiah 29:1-14
This week’s sermon from the series “Where We are Going: The City and the Mission“
THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE
Memorizing scripture is a way to keep God’s word close to our hearts. Each week we will select one verse of scripture to remember as a community.
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.
Each day’s devotion will focus on one part of the week’s passage.
10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
MEDITATION ON THE WORD
In our busyness and distraction, it is easy to skim through our reading rather than taking it in. Yet we believe this is the inspired word of God. Take a moment to pause, thank God for the scriptures and ask him to speak to you through them today.
When God determines a plan, there is nothing that can thwart it. The Babylonian exile is one example. God frequently warned his rebellious people that their captivity was sure to come if they continued to reject him. But their exile wasn’t a life sentence. God’s plans didn’t end there. It was a means to an end. Their experience in Babylon would purge them of their destructive rebellion. It was killing them and killing his purpose for them.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” God says. He intends to bring them to a state of flourishing, and will do what is necessary to fulfill his commitment. They will one day return to their land and Jerusalem will become that city which would be a light to the nations (Isaiah 51:4).
Those plans harken back to the promise made to their father Abraham, that they would be a great nation that would in turn bless the entire world (Genesis 12:2-3). And those plans were ratified in the covenantal bond God made with his people at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:5-8; 24:1-8). If, as a nation, they lived according to his law as promised, they would be blessed. If they rejected it, they would be punished. But God also knew his people would fail to live up to that bond. He knew they were bent on their own destruction. So there was more to God’s plan.
God took upon himself the people’s responsibility to live according to his law. The Son of God became man and lived a perfectly obedient life, absorbing on the cross the punishment that rightfully belonged to his disobedient people, and became the promised blessing to the world.
Every human heart has been exiled from its maker through slavery to sin. This breaks the relationship between God and his children and is the ultimate source of all suffering. But God chose Abraham’s descendants to be the nation through whom deliverance and reunion would come. Jerusalem would be the city in which God would reconcile himself to people from every nation. Through Christ, God’s promise that “I will be found by you when you seek me with all your heart” would be extended to all corners of the earth. This was God’s plan.
THIS WEEK’S RISE REFLECTION
How are you being called to be part of this vision of reaching a tipping point of gospel renewal in our city? How is God calling you to use your gifts and resources to bring growth and flourishing to the city? Our hope is that this would be a spiritual process before it’s ever a financial calculation. So as you reflect, pray that God might work through you and others as we pursue this vision—knowing it will stretch us in our faith as we make our commitments. We know that this vision and its financial goal is something that only God can make possible. But we trust a God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
For your Heart: We started this week reflecting on what it means to live in exile. Take a moment to reflect on any sin or disconnect with the beauty and goodness of God that is leaving you feeling exiled from your maker.
For your Church: Pray for our church that we, as descendants of Abraham in the new covenant, would be a community of people that strives for restoration, reconciliation and deliverance from the slavery of sin.
For our City: Pray for our city that as the city flourishes through God’s grace, more hearts would seek to be restored to him.
Our vision is a city renewed by the gospel. This vision needs all of us.
We are calling on everyone at Redeemer to rise and say “I’m in” to pray, engage, and give as part of a gospel movement for the good of the city. Are you in?