Unpack Your Suitcase
Whenever we plan a trip, we pack a suitcase with those items needed for the time we plan on staying. Sometimes when we are not staying long we do not even unpack.
When the southern kingdom of Israel was invaded by the Babylonians many were carried away captive and deported to Babylon. This captivity was a prophesied judgment from the Lord which would last a total of 70 years. The Lord instructed Jeremiah his prophet to instruct the people of Israel how to act during this time away from their homes. He says in Jer. 29:5-7: “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters… so that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” God was saying to His people, “unpack your suitcase you are going to be here awhile”.
We who know Christ have our true home in heaven. Since we have been raised with Christ we need to seek those things that are above. We in many ways are aliens and strangers here in this world. We are looking for the Lord’s return and are citizens of a different kingdom. But just like Israel exiled to Babylon I believe the Lord would have us to unpack our suitcase.
What does that mean? How should we live in this world which is not our true home? How do we unpack our suitcase? First of all Israel was to pray for the peace of the city. We likewise should unpack a ministry of prayer for our nation and our cities. We should also unpack a determination to be godly and influence our culture with a Christlike style of living. A final item that we dare not leave unpacked is our courage to resist. The first wave of exiles to Babylon included Daniel and his three friends who resisted the king’s command to eat the food and drink the wine that was biblically forbidden to them.
We do not know how long our exile in this world will be. Let’s unpack our suitcase and pray, influence, and at times resist until we hear that trumpet call.