Pastors aren’t the only ones who end up in exile. Everyone does. But I have pastors in mind as I write over this 40 day journey.
In the Bible, exile often happened as a result of sin. Exile was a form of punishment. You see this in the book of Ezekiel where God allowed his people to be taken in exile as a result of their turning away from God. But there are other reasons for exile. Here are five:
it helps to know what landed you in exile. It’s not always your fault.
- Unbelief: That’s what happened to God’s people when they failed to enter the Promised Land. They doubted God’s ability to help them. Has unbelief kept you stranded in a place you were never meant to be? Maybe God asked you to do something but you refused out of fear and now you are in a no-man’s-land.
- Sin and Rebellion. This is what I talked about above regarding Ezekiel. God’s people lost the right to live in the Promised Land , not merely for doubting God, but for worshipping false gods. When we feel sorry for ourselves, we often fall into sin, don’t we? We think we are justified in go our own way because we have it so bad. Our worship shifts from God to our own pleasure.
- Bad Choices. It’s not about unbelief or rebellion. You just made some decisions that set you back and put you in a time of exile. Maybe you made some bad financial choices that got you in trouble. Or maybe you said some things that got you in hot water and put your job in jeopardy.
- Bad Luck. Some people end up in exile through no fault of their own. Sometimes bad things just happen to them for no reason.
- God’s call. Sometimes God calls us to a hard place. It’s not for any of the reasons above. It’s just that God’s will can’t be accomplished in any other way than through suffering. God didn’t spare himself from this. Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion were the ultimate exile.
I mention these five because it helps to know what landed you in exile. It’s not always your fault. Sometimes that’s our first assumption. We beat ourselves up thinking we did something wrong and this is our punishment. I personally think God has better things to do. But I do believe he allows us to walk through hard times because hard times are the best teacher.
How did you end up in exile? I’d love to hear back from you, as would other readers.
Subscribe to this blog to stay connected to the journey. I post three times a week. Consider sharing this series with people you know are in exile (btw…you’d be surprised how many people ARE in exile…they just hide it well).