Exile: God’s glory leaves His people, but not forever
When you look back on your life, what comes to your mind as one of the more meaningful ways you have known God is with you?
During the time of Israel’s exile, they lost not only the blessings of God, but His glory as well. As many times as God had said, “I will be with you,” during the exile, His glory was withdrawn. Ezekiel was one of God’s prophets given to Israel during the time of exile. Watch how God pictures the removal of His visible presence in the following passages:
Read Ezekiel 10:3-4, 15-19; 11:22-25.
Describe the movement of God’s glory through these passages.
Inside the temple, to the city gate, to the mountain outside the city – God’s glory is departing from Israel
What do you think would be the implications of the departure of God’s glory from His people? protection, safety, covering – all removed. This is a very big deal
Do you think it would have been harder for Israel or for God?
The time of exile was one of the darkest times in Israel’s history – maybe even worse than their slavery in Egypt. How could it possibly be worse than that? Because this time, they had experienced the Promised Land and the blessing of God. As slaves in Egypt, the hadn’t yet experienced that, and you can’t miss what you haven’t experienced.
Because of their disobedience to God, Israel had lost God’s blessing, His promises, even His glory with them. The book of Lamentations describes this time of exile in the form of a “lament” (sorrowful poetry).
Read Lamentations 1:1-5
What is exile like according to Jeremiah’s description here?
God called Jeremiah to go with Israel into exile and encourage the people to turn back to God. So Jeremiah experienced the awfulness of exile too.
Read Lamentations 3:1-9
What phrases describe how Jeremiah is feeling at this point? God has turned against them
Read Lamentations 3:19-26
Where does Jeremiah turn his attention to find hope in such misery?
What truth about God does he cling to? God’s great love – it could have been worse – they’re not dead. God will be faithful – I will wait for Him
How do we know this is more than wishful thinking? We can look back & see He did bring them back to the land. He also sent the Messiah. God keeps His promises, as bad as things look sometimes, God is faithful.
You and I are not suffering in a literal exile like Israel was, but we do experience suffering – sometimes a lot of it. What are some of God’s promises that can turn our minds in a hopeful direction and give us strength in our suffering?
A few of God’s promises: I Peter 1:6-7, Matt 28:18-20, John 14:1-4, Phil 1:6, Eph 1:13-14, I Thes 4:13-18, Rom 8:28-39, I Cor 15:58, I John 5:11-13
My Next Step with God is to ...
- plan a time during the week to work through the "December Family Devotional"
- invite a single from Cornerstone to join my family to do the devotional with us.
- order a copy of "Jesus Storybook Bible" to complement the family devotional.