Realize, Reflect, Release, Refocus
I. From BAD to WORSE to NOTHING. (2 Kings 24-25)
A. A CYCLE of REBELLION… (2 Kings 24:1-20)
B. …Leads to a KINGDOM in RUINS… (2 Kings 25:1-12)
C. …And a FAITH that appears POWERLESS. (2 Kings 25:13-21)
D. 70 YEARS of EXILE. (2 Kings 25:21)
We shift gears quickly today as we move into Lent and go from the New Testament gospel of John to the Old Testament in the book of 2 Kings. It’s the end of an era for the nation of Israel. Before the sermon is over they will be reduced to nothing. But if’s not over…not yet.
- Kid’s question: Describe the worst day you have ever had.
- When have you seen your world fall apart? What caused that and what was it like for you?
- How did today’s sermon help you to understand the reality of the exile of the Jewish nation in a deeper way?
II. Exile – A POWERFUL spiritual METAPHOR. (1 Peter 1:1)
A. The RIPPLE of human REBELLION. (2 Kings 24-25)
B. A PROCESS that PURIFIES. (Jer. 30:24; Hosea 2:14; Lam. 3)
C. HOPE requires patient ENDURANCE. (Ezra 1:1-4; Rev. 1:9)
Israel’s exile reflected the exile from the garden and became a powerful theme for a very necessary part of the spiritual journey. We see that all throughout the text. And the overwhelming message is that we don’t need to fear the exile, we need to learn to live in it in humble dependence upon God.
4. What would you say have been periods where you have been aware of “exile” in your own life? How do they fit in with the larger process of living as an exile (1 Pet. 1:1)?
5. What parts of your life have been purified through difficulty? When has difficulty seemed pointless? How did you deal with that?
III. LENT is a tool for maximizing EXILE. (Ps 90:12)
A. REALIZE the BROKENNESS of the world. (2 Kings 24-25)
B. REFLECT on the brokenness in OURSELVES. (Lam. 3:19-32)
C. RELEASE our desire to CONTROL.(Lam 3:24-26)
D. REFOCUS on SURRENDER and FOLLOWING. (Jn 21:22)
There are a lot of thoughts about using the seasons of the year like Advent and Lent. But one of the reasons we do it is to help us use our days wisely. The journey through Lent can help shape us in the midst of exile. It helps us to honestly acknowledge the reality around us and within us. It gives us hope as well.
6. What is your general feeling about the brokenness of the world around us? How does today’s message shape that? (or does it?)
7. How does our desire to control our image, our comfort, or future enable our inner brokenness to remain unchallenged?
8. What are some practical ways Jesus is calling you to surrender of follow during this season of Lent?