Leading through Exile

Jeremiah 29: 4 -14 (NIV)
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease…” 
The thought of exile in our modern-day world tends to feel very far fetched and sometimes close to impossible, like many other experiences we get to read about in the Old Testament. Looking at the dictionary definition of this word exile would be: “the state of being barred from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.” In most recent times I’ve found myself in a space where it can easily feel like I’ve been barred from my own native country and not for any sort of punitive or political reason but of a Global Pandemic (Covid-19) lockdown.
In the Scripture mentioned above, we get to jump into a time in history where God’s people (The Israelites) were taken into Exile by one of their greatest adversaries which were the Babylonians. In this period of time, God had raised the prophet, Jeremiahto proclaim His message and remind His people of His word amidst adversity. Here are some underlining thoughts I personally discovered in this letter that the prophet Jeremiah wrote to those who were in Exile:
1. God is motioning us to not stop in our tracks – While the normal reaction in a time of captivity is to sit, follow instruction, and hope for everything to be over, [Jer 29 v 5 – 6] encourages us to continue living and do so through keeping the future in mind and pursuing it. Instead of using this time as a reason for waiting and standing still, we need to consider it as a space for concentrated growth in all our spheres.

2. The peace and prosperity of our Nation are as important as our own – [Jer 29 v 7 ] shows us that in times of great adversity, we need to allow ourselves to be instruments of justice by seeking internal and external peace and praying against injustice in our surroundings. This will not only ensure a prosperous future for our country but a prosperous future for ourselves too.

3. God’s promises still remain the same even in the new normal – [Jer 29 v 10 – 14] reminds us that we are still promised a future of hope, safety, and prosperity. It is shown here that God is faithful to deliver and He restores everything in our favor. Genesis 50:20 puts it this way; that whatever the enemy has meant for evil, God will use for good.

Nothing catches God by surprise because He is Omniscient (all-knowing). The new normal beyond our “Covid-19 Exile” will not change God nor His plans with our lives. He’s a God of continuity. What He’s been doing before the “Covid-19 Exile”, He’ll continue and bring it to fruition because of His unchanging character… FAITHFULNESS! So I dare you to take the lead in this season and you might just surprise yourself!
Be Blessed!
S’fiso Tshabalala