Here it is for those who are unfamiliar:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 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. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.
For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (vv. 4-14, NRSV)
I feel like the command to build houses, plant gardens, take wives, marry, and seek the welfare of the city is a good one. I mean, what else could Israel do during the 70 years of exile? Sitting around and pouting was useless. This is why this is the passage I go to when I’m being forced to live out a situation that I don’t like — it speaks to me about living my life as fully as I can in the moment, knowing that God has a plan for me and will eventually bring me out into a better place that He has created for me. This particular reading of it has gotten me through some very intense times.
I bolded verse 11 because that’s the verse that end up on all the inspirational kitsch. I mean, it’s a fabulous piece of Scriptures but as Jessica said, it needs to be read in context.
I’m facing a lot of changes in my life right now and it honestly helps me to know that God has my back and has a plan for all of this which will protect me and heal me and bring me into a good place that is beyond anything I can imagine. It also helps to know that the blueprint for the present is to live my life as fully as I can.