Pastors (and others) will be glad to know that they are not the only ones who have experienced exile.
Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden. We’ve been trying to “get back to the garden” (ala Joni Mitchell) ever since. Noah survived the flood but his new life was an exile from the old. He was cut off from everything he knew before the flood.
It seems that exile is a rite of passage for biblical greatness yet we dread it like a plague.
Abraham was an exile in Canaan. My next post will explore that more. Hagar was exiled from Abraham and Sarah. Jacob lived in exile under Laban’s rule waiting to receive Rebecca as his wife. Joseph was in exile in the well and in prison, while Moses was in exile many times: in the basket at birth, in the palace growing up, in the wilderness after killing a man, in the Sinai Wilderness, and in his lonely place of leadership.
David was in exile as he ran from King Saul. Jonah was in exile in the belly of the whale. God’s people were in exile in Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. Jesus was in exile as he hung on the cross. And Paul was in exile from the Jews (once his greatest supporters) as well as by enduring the “thorn in his flesh.”
It’s a wonder we are so ignorant of exile and God’s purpose for it when exile is so prevalent in the Bible. How can we be so blind? It seems that exile is a rite of passage for biblical greatness yet we dread it like a plague. If we fully understood how God uses exile to benefit us we would stand in line all night to get in to this special club. But we don’t have to stand in line, do we? We all get a free pass into this club, it’s called “life.”
Why do we think exile is just for ancient times? If God used it then to prove his people, why wouldn’t he use it now? He absolutely does. We can fight against it or we can embrace it and receive it as the gift that it is.
What has kept you from seeing the value of exile in your life?
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