As we discuss How to Be Neighborly, there’s some beauty to realizing how important neighbors are not just in a spiritual context, but even in a social context. Neighborhoods, cities, and civilizations are only as good as the neighbors within them.
To put it simply; Great neighbors make great countries.
In the Old Testament, Jeremiah and the Judeans (the southern segment of the Jewish people) are captured by the Babylonians. The Babylonians overtake them and destroy the civilization the Jews had known and loved. Worse than the physical destruction, they began to also dismantle the culture the Jews had built and their rich heritage. The Babylonians – who were not a God-fearing people – worked hard to make the Jews become Babylonians.
You would think that God would tell the Jews – His chosen people – to fight the Babylonians. You would think they should hope for the destruction of their new captors and new neighbors. But, God gives a different commandment instead. Through Jeremiah God tells His people:
Also, 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.”
Now don’t get me wrong. In this story, God never tells His people to water down their relationship with Him. He never tells them to live a life less than His calling. He never says to follow their immorality and ungodly ways.
But, what He does say is to be a part of the city. To pray for it. To seek the prosperity of it. Because if the city wins, they win.
God calls them to become good neighbors even with those they despise.
Even with those who believe differently.
Even with those who have hurt them.
What if we saw our neighborhoods this way?
If our neighborhood wins maybe the Kingdom wins.
[If you hit a spot in these verses where you get confused or hung up, don’t hesitate to reach out.]
Monday // Mark 12:28-31
Tuesday // Ecclesiastes 12:13
Wednesday // James 2:14-17
Thursday // John 4:13-24
Friday // Matthew 6:9-13
KEVIN STAMPER | LEAD PASTOR | @KEVINSTAMPER