Day 12

The Coming Exile

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 15:1-21, Jeremiah 16:1-21, Exodus 15:2-3, Luke 11:45-52

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Last weekend, I tried to fly to Chicago during the biggest blizzard they’ve had all year—key word here being tried. To be fair, I knew snow was in the forecast, but I also assumed that it was always in the forecast, and therefore, just another Friday in the Windy City. This is one of those areas where people who live in cold-weather states get all puffy in their parkas and tell those of us who live in the blessed South, “Relax. We know how to deal with this. We have snow plows!”

After arriving at the airport at an appropriately early time and confirming my flight’s “on time” status, I was relaxed. But just as I joined the line for coffee to pass the time before boarding, I got the dreaded text: My flight had been “cancelled.”

There’s a unique shade of panic when it comes to flight plans becoming totally derailed. You begin with a detailed, minute-by-minute itinerary of how exactly you’ll get from point A to point B, and then one small malfunction, or not-so-small storm, comes along and forces you to watch each well-planned step unravel before your very eyes.

The Israeilites knew what it was like to not have things go according to plan. Today’s reading recalls their deliverance by God from Egypt, which is the central act of redemption in the Old Testament. Throughout Scripture, God continues to remind His people of His promise-keeping trustworthiness and steadfast character, but Jeremiah 16 predicts a turbulent journey ahead for God’s people: their coming exile.

“However, look, the days are coming… when it will no longer be said,
‘As the LORD lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ but rather,
‘As the LORD lives who brought the Israelites from the land of the north
and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’
For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors” (Jeremiah 16:14–15).

A reroute doesn’t disqualify you from ending up where you’re supposed to be. In the case of the Israelites, who I imagine probably just wanted to end up somewhere safe, God didn’t just get them from point A to point B; He gave them freedom, releasing them from captivity and slavery, and brought them home.

God’s plan isn’t just to redirect us—it’s to redeem and restore us. He may not provide a step-by-step itinerary or a packing list, but I do believe that if we read the pages of Scripture and remember who He has been to us in the past, we get something even more important: a picture of His character. We don’t need to know the inclement weather plan or be reminded to put on our own air masks before assisting someone else. We just need to know who is in charge. And that is more than enough.

Post Comments (59)

59 thoughts on "The Coming Exile"

  1. Nancy Singleton says:

    Churchmouse & Angie, you have both expressed so much of what I feel so beautifully: how God had His hand of protection on me long before I was aware of Him, saving me despite my destructive wandering; & now as an aging woman with many pain/health issues, my prayer too is to not be that grumpy, complaining old shrew! Help me Father to keep my eyes on You & my final destination-Heaven! And yet keep me purposeful in whatever time remains, to be a beacon of your light & love to those around me.

  2. Sarah says:

    Angie– thank you so much for your thoughts. I love that prayer–that I will not become bitter as I grow older. It’s so true– I have felt occasional cynicism creeping in lately. Lord, as we grow older, keep bitterness at bay and beauty in sharp focus!

  3. Sue says:

    “God’s plan isn’t just to redirect us—it’s to redeem and restore us.”

    Such powerful words.
    God wants to restore our relationship with Him. May that relationship be my goal in life as well.

    1. Kody C.Krady says:

      ❤️

  4. Melinda Gray says:

    Thank you for this insight. It really helped me to see some of the purpose and necessity of the destruction.

  5. Churchmouse says:

    In a whimsical moment I have wondered what the route of my life was supposed to look like from heaven as compared to what the route actually has been on the earth. How many unintended detours did I take? How many road markers did I miss? How often did I opt for the fastest route instead of the scenic one? How many times did I ignore the engine warning light or fail to stop for gas? While pondering all this is mere flight of fancy, I know I will get to my destination because God has given me His Word on it. I’m heaven – bound regardless of the twists and turns along the way, twists and turns most often by my own foolish choosing. I dare say all have an effect on character building and perseverance – both of which may very well be God’s purpose behind the detours. I’m thankful that along the way I’m never truly lost. God, like my GPS, faithfully reroutes me. He is, unlike my GPS, always accurate. He knows every construction area, every speed bump, every delay and He accompanies me to stay the course. He knows the way because He is the Way. Great is His faithfulness!

    1. Jane K says:

      Amen! So thankful for God’s faithfulness to me even when I have taken the wrong route or grumbled through the journey He had me on. Oh to trust Him more!

    2. GramsieSue . says:

      I love this. I too have wondered about how the choices I’ve made have affected God’s plan. What if I hadn’t gone there or done that?

    3. Jennifer Anapol says:

      I love this analogy of life!

    4. Jennifer Anapol says:

      It’s nice to remember that our final destination is set, even with all the mistakes we may make, as long as we have put our trust in Christ.

    5. Haley Z says:

      Well said!

    6. Monica Hailey says:

      So thankful to know my destination is secure but reminded to walk closely with God so that I don’t take a needless detour.

  6. Angie says:

    In He Reads Truth for today, Matt Redmond talks about looking towards death…not in a morbid way, but a healthy, this is where I’ve been, where I am now, and…where do I hope to be? He mentions how as we grow older our bodies do not work like they once did. Healing takes longer whether from injury or illness. Little aches and pains don’t always seem so little anymore. Death seems closer (although none of us know the timeline of our lives-only our Creator God knows that). Fun stuff, like that.
    That is a place I am at as well. I don’t think we talk as much about it with each other as maybe we should. Maybe that is because so often the old are not mentoring the young in our society? When I was young, I didn’t see the things other more aged women were dealing with, and learn from their grace. I wonder, instead of building on the wisdom and foundation of years with Christ, do I chase the distractions of youth and this world? How do I, as the aged women take the time from my busy, work-filled schedule to build relationship with the younger women You give me? Will they even want me to? I’m not trying to be a “grumpy old women…” (that can come way too easily), these are real questions I ponder.
    Two pieces of wisdom, more aged women shared with me when I was younger, that I treasure:
    “If you want to be a grace-filled, godly women at 60, you need to start at 25. It doesn’t just happen overnight.”
    and my precious, kind, good, grandma Miller said, “Please pray I will not become bitter as I grow older.” My response was that there wasn’t a bit of bitterness in her. Her answer was, “I’ve watched it happen. It can creep in without us knowing. Please pray that for me.” And I did.
    I don’t know if it is that this is the time a year ago, we were nursing my mother-in-law through her battle with cancer, or that I am getting close to retirement, or just that those aches and pains are so much more profound but, I am thinking about death. Not in a morbid way but, how God has been so, so faithful, kind, and good to me throughout my lifetime. How His care was over me when I didn’t realize it. How present He is in the moments of every day, and how I long to honor and please him with whatever days ahead He gives me.
    The Exodus passage talks about the Lord as our strength, song, salvation and warrior. It reminds me of a verse I’ve been carrying…Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge, my Fortress, my God in whom I trust.” As my refuge I am reminded that He is rest. As my fortress He is my protector (warrior), and as my God, He is everything in between.
    Lord I pray the sincerity of a life lived for You will mark my days. That my actions and focus will be on You. May I notice You always, pausing to praise, and then chose to obey immediately as You call. Thank you for faithfully holding/guiding me on this, “more of God hunt” I am on.

    1. Bessie H says:

      Thank you, Angie, for that perspective. I am in a very similar place, although I probably have a few years on you! As a young woman I had some precious mentors who taught me much. One of the women was what we used to call a ‘shut-in’. I visited her weekly with a recording of the church service and we had wonderful talks. I remember marveling at her being so content in her circumstances. She was always happy to see me and hear about my exploits while be confined to her chair. It made me determined to be joyful as I aged and not cranky or bitter. She was a joy.
      As I’ve gotten older, I too have become much more comfortable with my life ebbing to a close and joining my Savior in heaven. I’m not in a rush, but I’m not afraid or sad. I’ve realized though, that part of my journey has brought me to this place where I have more time to spend in prayer and meditation. That is very hard when you have young children and/or a career. My days used to start with a jolt and I was off! Now I have time to sit and read, pray, meditate and just be still.
      God has been faithful all through my life, but I am really enjoying this time with Him. I am grateful that He has allowed me this gift of time.

      1. Erin N says:

        … journey with you. Bless them in their lives as they intertwine, creating a magnificent tapestry of Your grace.
        Ladies, thank you all for sharing.

    2. Jessica Thibeault says:

      Thank you for sharing, Angie, and Bessie. My prayer has been to grow into a grace-filled lover of Jesus as I age…..and I’m approaching middle age. What you’ve said about bitterness is so true, and I’ve seen so many older people be bitter. I want to be a godly, mature, NOT bitter source of wisdom for my adult children who are now in their mid to late teens. I didn’t have that from my mom. The Lord has taught me so much in the past few months about developing a rule of life that includes an appointment with Him every day. This has made such a difference in my life.

    3. GramsieSue . says:

      Thank you, Angie. This was such a good way of looking at this new stage of life (I’m 60and this body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to). And Bessie, I find I have more time to spend reading, studying, meditating…wrapped in the arms of God as well. But maybe I need to share some wisdom with younger women who need encouragement. I raised four children, homeschooled them, and managed to feed them on very little money. Now I have five grandchildren with another on the way. I think my God hunt should include younger women…
      Blessings to my SRT sisters.
      Have a wonderful weekend ❤️

    4. Chris Swan says:

      Thank you ladies. I’m definitely in those senior years and love mentoring the young women that come to the center. Thank you for reminding me that this is God’s plan for each of us — we were mentored— now we mentor.

    5. Kyah Collins says:

      Thank you so much for your heart & wanting to share your wisdom with a younger generation. This really brings tears to my eyes to be thought of & cared about.

    6. Blake Ennis says:

      Thank you Angie for sharing. I’ve always believed that who we become in our later years is who we really are, without filters or the restraint of people pleasing. I have always prayed my mind and heart would be in sync with God’s Word and His intentions for me….bearing His fruit. I’m praying and always preparing my heart and mind with that thought, that my hidden inner self is my true self.

    7. Julia L says:

      I’m inspired also by you and other women posting on this comment. I often think about what kind of woman I’m becoming and how I grow into a more joy filled, content woman who does not hesitate to obey Jesus in everything and lives Him with her whole heart. I so appreciate the perspective here and the wisdom you share.

    8. Kelly Broughton says:

      Thank you. Very blessed by these words and thoughts.

    9. Erin N says:

      Thank you, Jesus, for all these women who desire an ever growing and fulfilling

    10. Monica Hailey says:

      Beautiful reminder!

  7. Paula Kline says:

    Today what jumped out at me was Jeremiah 15: 19-21. It reminds me that at least apart of the end game here was the destruction of the reputation of idols. The Israelites were living in a culture polluted with idol worship meaning that they put faith in all of these worthless totems to bring them peace and prosperity and salvation. So if God had provided any of this, there was no clear indication that it was from the Lord. Instead the people’s faith in their idols might have been inadvertently strengthened! The degree to which God had to make a clean break may seem harsh but it makes sense to me that the only way to ensure the people’s clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t was for them to first arrive at the end of their faith in false gods. How often has this been the case for me! God waiting patiently on the sidelines or at other times hurrying along the destruction of my faith in deceitful idols (you know beauty, intelligence, accomplishments, money)… each one in turn becoming my master and then failing miserably to provide anything worth worshiping.

  8. Kristen says:

    This verse stuck out to me: The rest of them I will give over to the sword
    in the presence of their enemies.”
    This is the Lord’s declaration.
    Today, in some churches we sing a song saying that we raise a Hallelujah in the presence of our enemies, we raise a Hallelujah, God has come to fight for me.
    In the Exodus Scripture above it states: “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.”
    ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭15:3‬ ‭CSB‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1713/exo.15.3.csb
    I’m thankful that because of Jesus, we are not in the position that the Israelites were in! It would be an interesting study to look for all the Scriptures that point to God as a warrior that protects us from our enemies. I’m grateful for His protection seen and unseen and don’t want to be without it!

    1. Bianca Lankford says:

      Amen, Kristen! That would be an amazing Bible study. God is always protecting us, whether we can “see” it or not.

    2. Jen Brewer says:

      Agreed! That verse stood out to me as well and I would love to study that too.

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