EXCERPTS FROM AN EXILE

This time in our lives is definitely a new adventure. Throughout the bible, we see stories God’s people in exile, in slavery, and in a dispersed and persecuted church. We may not be in ‘exile,’ but all these circumstances describe God’s people traveling through scary and uncharted territory. Sound familiar when put that way? In light of so much negative news all around us, let me share some higher-road thoughts that our God Most High has been sharing with me. John Stumbo, the Christian and Missionary Alliance President, shared recently from Jeremiah 29:1-14. The background is that Israel has been judged for their long-term disobedience and sent into exile to Babylon. The theme of John’s message:

“What to do when you are not where you want to be, and you find out you’re going to be there longer than expected!”

John Stumbo

God’s Word to those in exile:

  1. Dig in… this won’t be over in a few days. This is not a sprint, pace yourself for a marathon. Settle in for the long haul and make the best of it. (29:4-6) “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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.”
  2. Decide to bloom where you are planted. Don’t just be there…be all there and make things better for those around you. Spread God’s peace, love, and joy. (29:7)
    “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.”
  1. Discern the voices. There is a lot of crazy talk. Select carefully what you listen to and seek God’s voice
    above all else. (29:8,9)
    ”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. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.”
  2. Determine to trust God for the bigger picture. God is writing a good story even though it may not be the story you expected. God is at work in the world. He knows your situation and you can trust Him
    throughout your journey. (29:10,11)
    “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. 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.'”
  3. Devote yourself to God. Pray more, read your Bible, love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. You can come out of this exile stronger and better equipped to intentionally connect others with the transforming love of Jesus! (29:12-14)
    “‘Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to 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 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.’”

I am much encouraged by these God-breathed, everlasting scriptures – they truly bring beauty out of ashes. However, I am still looking forward to seeing the other side of this season of “safe sheltering”! What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Ron Story

CVYR Board Member