From 606 to 586 BC, the people of Judah were conquered by the Babylonian Empire. At different times, different groups of Jews were taken to live in Babylon. In all, the nation would spend 70 years in exile under the judgment of God. But God promised that, after that exile, he would return the nation to its land.
Of course, there are many false prophets who urged the people not to willingly go to Babylon, to try to avoid the exile. These evil men tried to get the people to believe that God would restore the nation to the land within 2 or 3 years. But God’s word for the people was a call to go to Babylon, settle down, and live godly lives.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 — 4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 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. 7 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.
God had a word for the people who were in exile. Build a house. Have a family. Get a job and feed your family—the whole concept of growing a garden. Pray for your new city. Do good for the city. As you help the welfare of the city, you help yourself. Even if this land is not your ultimate home, do what you can to live a godly life and do the land good.
While modern Christians are not Jews in the 6th century BC, we sometimes feel similar things. WE look around in our land, in our city perhaps, and we feel like strangers and aliens in a foreign land. The nation does not value what we value. The nation can be harsh to our beliefs. The nation participates in grievously sinful acts. What are we to do?
I would suggest that God’s word in Jeremiah is pretty close to what his word would be for us today. WE are not to run away and hide. Nor are we to embrace the sinful worldview of our culture. We are to live godly lives in the real world. Set up a home. Have a family if the Lord provides that opportunity. Work a job. Pray for the nation. Share the gospel. Bring about God-honoring change when you can. Do what you can to do your city good, for in doing your city good, you do yourself good.