Pray for Babylon
Some American Christians find it hard to love America out loud. They are so aware of our national shortcomings—whether the injustices, governmental intrusiveness, societal violence, level of taxation, wars, and foreign policy—that they bristle at the idea that Christians are supposed to obey their government.
Imagine the difficulties of living a Christian life in countries where Christians are a tiny minority or where the Christian faith is repressed and persecuted. How can you love your country when your country doesn’t love you?
The prophet Jeremiah was not popular with the power structure of the rapidly shrinking kingdom of Judah in the late 600s b.c. He was allowed by God to foresee that Judah would collapse militarily and that going into exile was not a disaster but in fact the only way that people would survive. He counseled his fellow Jews to go along with the deportation, learn to like Babylonia, and even to pray for its wellbeing: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Peter, Paul, and our Lord Jesus all were persecuted by the Roman government, and yet all three urged Christians to obey Caesar. It should be easier today. We can do that.
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