EXILE IN 2015?
“2015!” Does that put a hopeful smile on your face or does that instantly cause a surge of anixiety?
A hopeful Scripture verse for 2015, and is often referrenced for a New Year, is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Because no matter what, this verse reminds us that God has a plan, a good plan, for you and me!
The word “plans” from this verse in the Hebrew is “machashabah”: curious work, device, imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought. The King James Version uses the word, “thoughts” instead of the word “plans”. We can see why these words, plans and thoughts, are used interchangeably. The message being communicated is that the God of the entire universe is actively involved in every detail of our lives and has a purpose for our daily experience. There is hope for an expected end!
I so appreciate this Scripture verse within context because life was hard, very hard!This word of hope came at a time of exile. “…The God of Israel, to all the exiles who I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” (Jer. 29:4) Even now I imagine there are those who are reading these words and have begun to cry. Your spirit is bearing witness to these words. You were in Jerusalem, but now you are in Babylon. You are in your own place of exile. Hands are tied; your back is up against a wall, and there is simply not one thing you can do!
During the time of exile, God gave specific instructions about exile living: “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become fathers. Multiply. Do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you. Pray for its welfare, for in its welfare you will have welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
The instructions were very simple and within the capabilities of those God was instructing. If you're in exile, these instructions apply to you too! Ask the Lord how you can incorporate these principles into your life in a real way: What can you do to improve your living conditions? What can you do to improve your family relationships? How can you be praying for the welfare of your exile city?
And, you are to increase during your exile—not decrease! The tendency is to think exile living is a time for decreasing because you feel the decrease in so many areas of your existence, not so. There are spiritual treasures to increase in during this season of exile that are designed specifically for you. There is much you can do, even though your perceptions may be contrary. Do what He shows you to do, and you will increase, even in exile! And when the time has been completed, those treasures will go with you!
I think perhaps the most important perspective of God’s message during an exile season is this: “. . . I have sent you into exile.” If you are in an equivalent place of exile, remember you were sent. You did not simply fall into exile. It didn’t just happen to you. God sent you into exile for a specific purpose. You haven’t been tossed to the side, or thrown out. You haven’t been forgotten. The time of exile and it's purposes W I L L be completed! It is a plan thought out perfectly for your hopeful future!
“I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.” (Jeremiah 29:10)
This may be a completely different perspective on exile living for you! Follow simple instructions. Increase. And pray!
Praying blessed hope and encouragement on all who read these words!