Column: Build houses, plant gardens

Kate Walsh Soucheray
Kate Walsh Soucheray


“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses to dwell in; plant gardens, and eat their fruits,” 

Jer. 29:4-5.

These passages from the book of the prophet Jeremiah remind us that we, too, are in exile from what makes sense to us in our world today, just as the Hebrew people were in exile 600 years before Jesus. The prophet was speaking for God and encouraging the people to settle down, build their houses, plant their gardens and accept their exile, for they would be there for a number of years.

Stop fighting, stop hand-wringing, stop blaming and finger-pointing and settle down. In that space and time, they were to teach their children what they needed to know. The scholars contend that if all the old folks were to die in Babylon, the middle-aged people would also die there. The only ones who would be going home would be the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The parents needed to settle down and share their knowledge of God and all that He wanted for them with their children, so that when they returned to the homeland, the children would have a devotion to God that the older people did not have when they were taken into exile.

The time in which we are living is very much like the time when Jeremiah wrote his prophecy, which was about 625 B.C., 40 years before the people were taken into exile. What would you teach your children if they needed to know about God and they were in exile? How would you explain God’s love and mercy to them? How would you explain service and devotion to His expectation for their lives? Build your houses, plant your gardens. Settle down, and don’t waste this time to teach your children what they need to know.

Kate Walsh Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Stillwater. She works at Christian Heart Counseling at 275 Third Street S. and can be reached at [email protected] or 651-439-2059 ext. 718.