While not many people have experienced being exiled from their country and carried into captivity, most of us have had to leave places we didn’t want to leave to go to places we didn’t want to go. Circumstances may have forced you to change jobs, relocate, change schools, and leave people you love to be with people you don’t even like! How should we respond to being exiled? Is it possible that God uses times of exile to draw us closer to Himself? Join us for part 7 of Jeremiah: A Prophet for the City as Pastor Gary looks at Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles and explores what it means to live in exile with God.
“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 their 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 your prophets and your 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, declares the Lord.
“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you My promise and bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you.
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.Jeremiah 29
Principles (KNOW THEM):
God is Lord of the exile.
God invites exiled people to be incarnational.
God is found in the exile.
Practices (DO THEM):
Take time to prayerfully answer the following questions:
- Where do you most feel like an exile?
- What would it look like to live incarnationally in that place?
- Are you looking for God in the place of your exile or have you assumed He is only present in the places of your personal preference and comfort?
Day 1: Jeremiah 28
Day 2: Jeremiah 29
Day 3: Jeremiah 38
Day 4: Jeremiah 39
Day 5: Jeremiah 40
Day 6: Jeremiah 41
Day 7: Jeremiah 42