When Babylon conquered Judah, the pagan king gathered a group of exiles to alter their worldview in order to reconstruct the whole nation. A small group heeded the biblical command regarding exile expectations and remained expectant of how God could use them during that time.
- After God’s people refused to heed his repeated warnings, he punished his own by allowing Babylon to defeat them.
- Jeremiah 6:19 – Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.
- King Nebuchadnezzar knew that to convert a culture, you must lure the leadership.
- 2 Kings 24:14 – He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land.
- The pagan culture knew it could not wholly defeat Judah until they had made God a distant memory.
- The exile was God giving His people what they had consistently sought for years – distance from Him.
- Leviticus 26:39 – And those of you who are left shall rot away in your enemies’ lands because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.
- God was willing for his reputation to suffer in order to sanctify His people.
- 2 Kings 20:18 – “And some of your own sons, who will come from you, who you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
- God’s sovereign plan included both renewing Jerusalem and reaching Babylon.
- 1 Kings 8:50 – “and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them.”
- Jeremiah 29
- Believers must wake up to the fact that we are exiles living in a land that is not our home.
- If we want to remain distinct from the culture while making an impact on the culture, we don’t need to attempt it alone.
- God’s people are at their best when they accept their circumstances and yet remain expectant of what God will do through them.
- Application: Commit to an in-person or online group for the next three months.
- 5 Objectives
- Prioritize the weekly gathering
- Commit to intentional checkups
- Strive for personal holiness
- Seek the city’s welfare
- Bring a friend along
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.