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. Chelsea Funtanilla says:

    God has, time and time again, been faithful to rewrite my story to bring me back to him. And it has been in such obvious ways that I can easily look back and point to some major turning points in my life. In 2004 he delivered me from a life of sin in the town where I went to college. He brought me to a new place where I knew no one. He brought me to a job I didn’t qualify for. He brought me a solid group of Christian friends I wasn’t looking for. He brought me to a church that taught me what it meant to be a follower of Christ, that God doesn’t have grandkids. I could no longer piggyback on my parents’ faith. He brought a male friend into my life who would move away and 7 years later become a husband to me who challenges me to keep my eyes on Jesus. He brought me out of the church I was at before a major breakdown there and into a healthier church where I would run into that male friend who would become my husband. He would allow me to go through a miscarriage so I could grow closer to my husband before our son would be born a year later. Time and time again he has used my failures and brokenness to paint a beautiful picture of forgiveness and redemption.

  2. Erin N says:

    Thank you, Jesus, for all these women who desire an ever growing and fulfilling journey with you. Bless them in their lives as they intertwine, creating a magnificent tapestry of Your grace.
    Ladies, thank you all for sharing.

  3. amarose says:

    “A reroute doesn’t disqualify you from ending up where you’re supposed to be.” This really spoke to me as I have recently found myself unmarried and pregnant in a relationship with a man who doesn’t know Jesus. This was not the way my life was supposed to go and now I am wrestling with the decisions I need to make on how to proceed with this relationship. He is super supportive and wants me to move in with him and eventually get married. I would love that and could see that for my future but I don’t know if that’s the choice God wants for me. Prayers/advice would be highly appreciated!

  4. Elizabeth M. says:

    At first I felt dread reading this particular day’s text and feel that similar helplessness at the chaos of life, but the reminder at the end of the devotional about God’s character and how He will see us through the trials and tribulations of this human life is so helpful. In this season of unknown for all of us with stuff like the coronavirus and climate change, it’s so reassuring to know we have relationship with a God who is constant and sure in a fallen, unsure world.

  5. Dee Wilcox says:

    It’s hard to internalize these readings sometimes. The Lord is giving Jeremiah a hard word, and you can tell Jeremiah is wrestling with it. God seems to be deviating from His character, but in reality, God is saying, “Let me reveal more of Myself to you. I won’t be known any longer for what I did 1,000 years ago. I will be known for what I am about to do.”

    God was deviating from the “everything is good, all is well” storyline that the people were trying to hold Him to and instead showing them their own wound, their huge need. He is just and holy and good and merciful. In His justice and holiness, He destroyed them. In His mercy and faithfulness, He promised to bring them back.

    1. Laura Quines says:

      This is what Im feeling too!

  6. Kay Elder says:

    I love a plan, a straight, orderly and predictable plan. But the greatest lessons have come when the plan is re-routed and I am reminded that God is in charge. He is who he says he is and that is enough.

  7. Bridgette Alvarez says:

    These verses really spoke to me as well. Jeremiah 15:20-21 too. Then I will make you a fortified wall of bronze to this people. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to save you and rescue you. This is the Lord’s declaration. 21 I will rescue you from the power of evil people and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. Jeremiah was obedient to God and God promised him protection. The verses remind us/me of God’s great grace and protection no matter what comes against us. As soon as I read the verse 19 I thought about Matthew 12:34 …. for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So yes, our words reveal our character and the degree of which Jesus is living in our hearts. We are to speak life and truth which reminds me of Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. One of my favorite scriptures.

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Good thoughts, Bridgette. Thanks for sharing those other scriptures as well. I needed to hear the Colossians one today.❤️

  8. Dorothy says:

    Oh my goodness, God’s rage and anger with His people in Jeremiah is unbelievable. I am so glad God sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins and the world’s sins. I also am happy that all I have to do to receive eternal life is to believe in God, Christ and the Holy Ghost. Kaitlin points out “God’s plan isn’t just to redirect us—it’s to redeem and restore us…. We just need to know who is in charge. And that is more than enough.” I am going to remind myself of this daily, a matter of fact I think I will write on an index card and keep it where I can see it daily.
    In total agreement with you Paula Kline, Candy B, and Kelcy Pryor
    Amen, Jane K, Sue, Sarah, Nancy Singleton, and Melissa Graves
    I, too, am an older adult and I totally agree with what you said Angie, Bessie H., Jessica Thibeault and GrammieSue. I would love to find someone to mentor.
    Churchmouse, I, too, have wondered those same questions.
    I am so glad God, You sent Your son to die for me and my forgiveness. I know my sins are bad at times but please forgive me. Help me to walk in Your way and show Your ways in my actions. Lord, bless and keep my SRT sisters. Amen.

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