Hello friends! How are you today? I hope you are wrapped in a warm blanket and enjoying a beautiful fire. Our current 10 degrees, snow, and 25 mph winds are a brutal combination.
I thought I would start by sharing this week’s unique icebreaker during our weekly online class. Several had the opportunity to introduce themselves like this, “Hi, my name is Genna (first name) Corolla (model of your car) and I am being exiled to the land of parmesan cheese (last thing you ate).” It was fun hearing each person add their introduction line as we began our evening.
But why focus on exile? Good question-over and over we see this word, especially in our minor prophet studies. Hosea is no different. As we approached chapter 4, we found charges God had against the Northern Kingdom because of their rebellious lifestyle. The LORD found them guilty of no loyalty, trust, or acknowledgment of Him. Therefore, exile was upon them in the days ahead.
Webster defines exile as “the state or period of forced or voluntary absence from one’s country or home”. In our minor prophet series, we have seen God using exile to capture the attention of those who refused to follow His instructions.
Often than not, exile continues for generations to come. Why? Maybe because of the power of long-lasting consequences. When exile happened, the people would find themselves in a foreign land and sometimes without a temple. It isn’t until then that the people would reflect on their wicked ways. Once they repented the LORD would forgive them but, the exile would normally continue for a period of time.
So, how can this Old Testament prophesy and state of exile apply today?
Could we possibly experience exile?
I cannot answer this for everyone but, let me share my thoughts when reflecting on these two questions:
Does the LORD ever have charges against me and my behavior? Do I ever found myself partaking in sinful actions and turning my back on living under Biblical authority? (Unfortunately, I could write a book!)
Are there times when certain Scriptures, sermons, bible studies, devotions, etc. prick my heart and warn me of the consequences if I continue my disobedience?
As I ponder these questions, I think about reproof. When reproof comes, the Lord wants me to repent and turn from my lawless ways. He knew I would struggle with fleshy desires so He equipped me with two helpmates: the Holy Spirit and His Word. The Lord desires a harmonious relationship with me but, He also allows me to make my own decisions. (My freewill is a thorn at times)
However, when I ignore the LORD’s instructions and continue to sin it is truly spiritual adultery. (Ouch-those words sting!) Therefore, exile will probably come. My sin has separated me from the LORD and He will seem far away because of my own doing. My failed faith might even leave me feeling deserted or isolated from the closeness I once felt with God. This is my “foreign land” time to reflect on my behavior and an opportunity to repent and turn back to the LORD.
My exile-separated from the one who loves me the most-the lover of my soul. This leaves me with another question: How can I avoid exile and stay on track to be successful in my faith?
What are your thoughts?
How would you answer these questions:
How can Old Testament prophesy and exile apply today?
Could you possibly experience exile?