Exile

LENT ADVENTURE 2016

Read Jeremiah 29:1-14

29 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon… It said:

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. 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.’ 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.

10 This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place.11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 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.’

Israel and Judah were warned again and again to return to God but once again humans rebelled. The prophets warned the people of coming judgement but the warnings were ignored. Israel was invaded by the Assyrians around 722BC  and then Judah was invaded by the more powerful Babylonians around 600BC. The Kingdom was lost. The people were taken into exile, removed from the land.

The people were called to “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.’” Where has God placed you? What would it mean for you to seek the peace and prosperity of the place you are in?

The people would be in exile for 70 years but there was hope. The people would return. Read the passage above again. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you, personally?

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