Daniel Fast 2023

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Message Text

Jeremiah 29:1-14 NIV

1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said: 4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 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.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to 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 will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Message Notes

1. Now that we are here.

God’s people found themselves in exile because of sin. It is important to recognize that there are times when our own sin causes us hardship in life. The answer is to quickly confess it and repent.

There are other times when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances because of other peoples sin.
Daniel is not in exile because of his direct sin but because of the sin of others.

No matter what the reason for being in exile is, you now have to decide what you will do with the time.

2. God’s ultimate purpose is to prosper you.

Jeremiah 29:10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares theLord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans togive you hope and a future.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We have to believe that in every situation God is working out our lives for our good. His will is to prosper us even when it doesn’t look like it.

Even in Job’s life God’s ultimate purpose was to prosper him.

It takes great faith to see beyond what you can currently see.

Hebrews 11:1 11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

3. Choose to think of blessing.

5“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.7Also, 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.”

Are you thinking decrease or increase during your exile? Are you thinking blessing or cursing during your exile?

How you think today is determining your quality of life tomorrow.

4. Avoid people who say it’s not worth it.

“Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.9They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

Everyone wants someone to tell them that it’s not going to last. Don’t settle, don’t unpack. Jeremiah instructed God’s people not to believe that. Unpack, settle in, be a blessing and receive a blessing.