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Bible verses about Exile, Surviving
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 4:9-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Not only were the first two people on this earth exiled from Eden, but also their firstborn son was exiled even more harshly: He had to wander in the lands to the east with a mark on his head.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Psalm 137:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Jews just bawled their eyes out. Their cherished city was gone. There was not even a hope of going back to what they remembered. The buildings were gone. The land was desolate. Who knows what kind of scorched earth policy Nebuchadnezzar used? The beauty of the land had been raped, and when they thought about Zion, the Temple, that beautiful city on a hill, they just sat down and sobbed.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 24:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This was the exile in which Daniel was taken away. Nebuchadnezzar took away the cream of the crop the first time he came through.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 29:4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's message here applies to the entire church, the greater church of God, the scattered ekklesia, the ones who have been dispersed from our former church home into the wilds of this world to fend for ourselves. Some of us have banded together into church groups, some larger, some smaller. Others are remaining by themselves, and many of these will likely melt back into the world. Nevertheless, what He says is directed at us—at all of us—who have been sent away, and it is excellent advice.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 29:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In times of exile, Jeremiah tells us to get married and have children, and have our children get married and have children too! What does this mean? The key to this is in the final thought, "that you may be increased there, and not diminished." To apply this spiritually, it means we should try to increase our numbers— to grow.

Personally, I have done my part the physical way: Beth and I have had three children in this church. Others have married someone out of the world, who have become converted members of God's church. This is not the normal way it should be done, but it happens every once in awhile. If God is working, if He is calling that person, He finds a way.

This piece of advice deals with "going to the world." The earlier commands relate to "feeding the flock." The third point, "increase as you are able," suggests increase by marrying, by having children, even by some form of proselytizing. But, always, the point is conversion. It is not to happen just to add numbers. We speak of God's flock, whose hallmark is quality, not quantity.

It is very hard both to feed the flock and go to the world. The indication here is first to get in good spiritual condition, and then, if possible, increase our numbers. Matthew 6:24 says we cannot serve God and mammon. It is dificult to do two things at once well, so we have to choose which is the most important. If Jeremiah 29:5-6 are any indication, the first and most important thing to do is to get oneself straight with God, and what resources are left over can go toward increasing one's numbers.

The first two points are most important right now, because God sent the church into exile because of sin. We must get rid of the sin first. Once we solve the problems, we will have the spiritual resources to increase our numbers. In Mark 10:28-30, to pull the principle there out of context, Peter says, "Master, we've left all to follow You." And He says, "Don't worry, Peter, for whatever you have lost I will return to you: mothers and brothers and sisters and fathers a hundredfold." So He will increase us. It is just a matter of when.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 29:7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The first two points in how to survive exile have to do with feeding the flock and getting ourselves back into spiritual shape. The third point deals with going to the world and increasing our numbers. The fourth concerns our witness to the world and our response to it.

Paul advises us to do it in peace. Live peaceably with all men as far as lies within you (see Romans 12:16-21). This is an important point because peace trickles down. Peace in the nation will trickle down to peace among citizens. If we live in an environment of peace, we can accomplish the overcoming, the growing, and the producing of fruit. As James writes, "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).

We have to be among the peacemakers, even while living in a world full of strife. We should seek God's hand in this, asking Him to give peace so that we can have the time—and not the distractions of strife—to use in producing fruit, getting our families in order, and increasing our numbers. If there is no peace, those things become much harder to do. We need to be peacemakers, which is one of Christ's beatitudes: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). It is vital that we have peace.

"Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). He we see how important peace is to producing holiness. If we fail in this, we will not see God! Peace is vital. In James 4, the apostle curses the recipients of his epistle, calling them adulterers and adulteresses because they were full of strife with one another. They were at war with each other. They were not producing peace. They were certainly not producing righteousness.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

Jeremiah 29:10-14  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God promises, "I'm going to bring you home. You will no longer be in exile. I will give you the promised land. I will give you My rest." We have been seeking "the rest of God"'the true Sabbath, in His Kingdom (Hebrews 4). He says He will give it to us because of HIis good plans in His heart for us. He wants these good things to be given to us.

So He urges us to continue on, to build our families and to strengthen the ties between, not only within the family, but with other families of His people. We are to overcome, grow, and produce fruit, so that we will have the heart that will seek Him in everything. And if we can, to grow in numbers. He wants us to be increased and not diminished, if possible. He also advises us to be at peace with other men, to have the peace around us in which we can grow in righteousness and holiness and transform into His image.

When we do those things, and God's time is right, He will bring us out of our exile. But not until then. He is the one, the Master Timekeeper, and when He says it is the right time, it will be the very best time for us to come out of exile. From wherever He has scattered us, He will bring us back and settle us, giving us true rest in His Kingdom.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How to Survive Exile


 

 




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